Monday, August 20, 2018

A New Day

We left just a bit before dawn. A smokey haze hung heavy in the air. As we reached the the Platte River, a light fog drifted over the river's corridor. Soon the sun began to lift itself above the tree line. All summer the sun has glowed red, filtered through a haze of smoke that seems to cover most of the western states as forest fires continue their rage, some having burned all summer. Our journey will take up 6 1/2 hours, but it will be worth it.

We drove into the sun until we crossed the border into Kansas where the vast grasslands where cattle grazed gradually turned to farm fields. We crossed over a corner of Nebraska, but who would know other wise unless they were paying attention to road signs.

We drove along the northern border of Kansas and Nebraska, passing through little villages and small towns. I liked Kansas. The landscape was beautiful and the traffic nonexistent, unlike the Front Range of Colorado that has become so over populated and congested that a move to Kansas was beginning to look pretty interesting.

We drove, the anticipation building as the miles passed. We were headed to a very small village, Kensington, Kansas, population 469 (2010). We were looking for Outback Kennels. As we past through Phillipsburg, a friend's hometown, I texted her to tell her that were driving through her town and we made a lunch date for this week.

We still are not recovered from so suddenly losing Boone, but the house is empty and quiet. The Head Gardner began his Internet search for another dog, not at all ready for another dog. I said let's wait until after the first of the year. Let's get a puppy. We visited a breeder on the western slope when we over for the wedding. Her pups were adorable, but he wasn't ready. He studied the rescues and found dogs that he thought would be a good dog to have, but he wasn't ready for another dog. He found one that he was interested in and put in his application despite knowing that we are not a candidate for a rescue because we don't have a fenced yard then he found this pup in Kansas at breeding kennel selling very expensive dogs. He took several days to get up enough nerve to text the breeder to find out about an older pup on their website. He was born April 1, so he is nearly five months old. The kennel specializes in gun dogs, bird dogs, hunting dogs. High priced dogs. But not this one. The breeder had decided that this pup, a shy little guy, wouldn't make a good hunter so he was a bargain and no one wanted him.

But someone did. We've named him Brody: a good Irish name for a German dog, a German Short Haired Pointer.

He is timid and everything is new to him. He'd never been in crate or a car or a house. So we paid the man and loaded him in the crate in the back of my little SUV and headed across Kansas toward home.

He slept most of the way until I tuned the car radio to my iPhone to listen to my tunes. He started to fuss and bark and we realized that he had never heard music. While his kennel was clean, it was cement and chain link. He was timid and wouldn't come to the fence to greet us. He's still shy but he is coming around.

This part of Kansas is beautiful with woods and farm fields--and no traffic.

We got lucky. No bad weather, though we could see the storm clouds gathering. 

Look closely and you will the thin yellow line that marks the states' borders. Still we are three hours from home.

The HG has to coax Brody out of his crate. 

He gets his first toy.

I didn't have the camera when he took his first trip outside. I wish I had one when he met the horses for the first time. The boys were out grazing and when saw the new dog, they came to the fence to meet him. He barked and growled, trying to sound tough, but more scared. The horses were used to Boone running around the pasture, so they were curious to see the new dog, but he wasn't very nice to them. 

Sundance sees the new puppy in the driveway and comes to say 'hi' again.

Sundance has had enough. He's not really impressed with the little guy that barks and growls.

Still, sad with the loss of Boone, the Head Gardner has a new little buddy. He is sweet and shy, but he learning so fast. He is going to be an easy little pup to train. 

I'm joining Mosaic Monday with this windmill mosaic. I shared photos last week of our trip to the grasslands, but I hadn't played with a app that I downloaded to my lap top call Smart Photo Editor Std. You can download the trial version and play around with it, but you can't save your photo unless you buy the full version. It is a bit pricey, $49.00 but it has hundreds of effects that you can apply to your photos. 
I don't know which effect I like the best: the water color on canvas or the  pencil back and white?

I think I'd frame the colored one.

The app is easy to use, had a lot of interesting photo editing features that take the guess work out of Photoshop, which I have never really been able to master. I've had instruction on Photoshop, but it's one of those things that if you don't use it you lose it, so I am not very good with it. I like this program and will used it, I think. What do you think? 

I am so glad that you stopped by. See you over at Maggie's for Mosaic Monday.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I Went Out to the Garden. . . II

I had to make a special trip to town to pick up a prescription, and of course, one does not go into the grocery story without thinking about what to fix for supper. I had just grocery shopped the end of last week, so I needed little, but I did pick up a package of turkey kabasa with a recipe in mind.

When it came time to fix one of our favorite meals, stir fry vegetables served with a lean meat over a bed of pasta, I realized that I didn't have any vegetables in the crisper to stir, so I made a trip to the garden. It is just beginning produce, but let me tell you it is an ugly sight out there this year.

 I'll not show any photos of the actual garden spot because it is a weedy mess. Some how I am able to find a lot of reasons not to go out to pull weeds:
  • Too Hot. It seems that the older I get, the less I can tolerate the heat, but then it has been above ninety most of the summer.
  • Mosquitoes. We have the dreaded West Nile disease here in Northern Colorado. Not as bad as it has been in years past when I would saturate myself with bug repellent and head to the garden, but still--I'm not in that mood at all.
  • Weed pulling is a thankless, endless job. No matter how much weed control a gardener does, the weeds keep coming.
In realty, the Head Garden's spring go off to a dismal start when he dropped his work here to go help the farmer friend in Eastern Colorado get ground ready to plant millet. His absence but us behind. The weeds really took over while we were on our Texas vacation and we have not been able to keep up with them since; however, the good news, the garden plants thrive despite having to share living space with weeds. The tomatoes are beginning to ripen right along with the cucumbers, so we have enjoyed garden fresh salads. We have a hardy crop of peppers and some very nice cabbages. The butternut squash will be a winter favorite. I went to the garden and  I picked zucchini both green and yellow, fresh onions, and two bell peppers and a healthy meal was a "GO." Left overs today.

As the vegetable garden begin to mature, it is also archery season for Pronghorn antelope out on the prairie. I don't hunt, but I do go with the HG when he puts up his hunting blind. The prairie is so interesting and while the vista and the landscape may seem uninteresting, if the visitor pays attention, the photo ops are abundant.

As we turned into the pasture where the HG would be hunting, a hawk seemed to stand guard on the power line at the gate.

Working windmills still provide a water source for both wild life and cattle. With the slightest breeze, the giant blades begin to turn and whirl. The camera is on auto shoot for this photo.

I changed settings to get the motion in the photo, using the action or athletic mode.

With his blind in place, the HG inspects the tent stakes to make sure that they are secure because a brisk wind will uproot them.

A distant farm house gives the aspect of the vastness of the grasslands of Northeastern Colorado. It really is a pretty landscape, especially with all of the rain that the grasslands have received.

I am not sure why the exposure on this photo is darker, but I like it.

Even at what seems to be a slow trickle, the windmill will pump the water tank full.

Now my photographic fun began. 

At home, I tightly cropped the photos and was so surprised at the color. I didn't adjust or edit the color; I just cropped the photo. We have a lot of hazy skies these days because of all of the wildfires burning in the part the United States, so that may be why there's purple in the images. Even in the ones that are not cropped, the water has purple shading.

The sunflower photo was taken from the other side of the tank. I had to crop out the pipe railing around the tank and only then did I see the bee in the photo. Not a photo bomb--a bee bomb.

We leave the windmill, with the Head Gardener satisfied that his blind is secure. We see the hawk again, this time with two king birds heckling him.

He lands on a land structure, not so much to get away from the annoying birds, more likely  to probably to let them know that he's done playing.

How many birds do you see? Look careful and you will the king bird's feet as he comes in for landing to sit next the hawk.

One with think that the two are friends.

And off he goes.

I do enjoy photographing birds. 

Back to the garden: Again playing with my setting, I photographed the tiger lily.

and the rose

Now, isn't this a nice way to end a garden post?  Thanks so much for joining me. Time to get some housework done.  I missed Mosaic Monday; I'll be there next week.

Thanks so much for visiting both posts. See you soon.

Monday, August 6, 2018


I have a lot to share today, so pour yourself another cup of tea, coffee, water--your choice. Last time I wrote about buying peaches in Palisade, CO, the peach capital of--well, I'd like to say THE PEACH CAPITAL, but I hear that Georgia peaches are pretty fine too, so I'll limit the fame to Colorado, with Clark Farms having the best.

So you all know the process: blanch, ice bath, peel, slice, and for me bag to freeze. I just was not up canning. To keep the peaches from turning brown, instead of making a special trip to the store to buy the ascorbic acid, I followed the suggestion of a web site: good old crushed Vitamin C tablets. They should work??? I'll let you know. I even did a second box a few days later, a box that was meant for Heather, but we wouldn't be seeing her before the peaches went bad I froze them, too. There weren't that many since we had been nipping one them. Should I share? Well, of course I will.

Let's Go to the Fair

4-h Club logo vectorI suppose most everyone has heard of  4-H, a youth organization that promotes leadership, responsibility, and learning for children between the ages of 8-18. Local clubs are partnered with a state university that provides the support for the groups. Briefly the 4 H's stand for these qualities: Head for clear thinking; Heart for greater loyalty; Hands for larger service; Health to better living. Click here to read more about what each H stands for.

A year's worth of hard work and training culminated for the girls at the 4-H Fair.  Mom hauled Mariah to the fairgrounds, while dad towed the camp trailer so that the girls would have place to stay for the week. The horses had to be there August 29th and were released August 2nd. Then on Friday Ellie had to take her rabbits to show this past weekend. The events for the horses began at 8 AM Monday morning and I was there, excited to see how the girls would do.

Both girls were entered in the Walk Trot level as very novice riders. The girls worked all year with their riding trainer who is also a 4-H leader and first grade teacher at their school. Now it is time to see how all of their training and hard work paid off.

Ellie leased a horse since her old mare is not able to compete, so this is Dunny, a small quarter horse who has been doing this 4-H competition for 14 years. I lost track of how the girls placed, but Elinore placed first in all of her events--except for one, I think--. Her first event was showmanship where the horsewoman leads the horse through a pattern to show how well it behaves and performs the pattern. She took first place.

Showmanship is a very formal, requiring the handler to stand straight, face the judge, and mange the horse. For Dunny, he must be quite bored, but he was perfect.

After the event, the girls went outside for the formal photographs. 

I didn't get good photos of Lucy's showmanship class because the lighting the arena was so poor. She took sixth. I wish you could see her long blond hair all rolled up in a bun at the back of her head beneath her hat with a black net over it. She looked very glamorous.

Lucy placed lower in a couple of her events because of mistakes that she made in the patterns: standing on the wrong side of the cone, for example, in the showmanship class. Hers really is the success story because she has had this little mustang mare for less than a year and this is the first time Mariah has competed. She spent all of her life in the mountains with her girl riding her on mountain trails. She did everything that Lucy asked her to do. She is an amazing little horse. At 16 she has a whole new life. Her former owner left work one morning to come see her perform. So while Lucy didn't show as well, she had a personal victory in accomplishing so much: learning how to ride while learning how to show.

The Larimer County fair grounds are fairly new and state of the art. The stalls are spacious and the kids have to keep them and the aisles clean.This is Dunny's stall. The girls made posters telling a little bit about their horse for the public visitors.

Ellie, age 11 with Dunny's briddle. 

Lucy with Mariah. At this moment in time, Lucy is 9. She turned 10 after fair.

Mariah getting a little snack.

Next event: Horsemanship. Again photos were pretty hard to take in the arena, but outside the girls are in the practice arena practicing their horsemanship. 

Ellie has been riding Dunny in training, so they know each other. She looks confident.

Wednesday was fun day where the kid competed in gymkhana events, all timed and for the girls performed at a trot: barrel racing, key hole, and pole bending. Here, Lucy is running the barrels. So the idea is to do a clover leave pattern racing around each barrel. Lucy looks like she is going pretty fast, but she actually trotting.

Ellie headed at a trot to the finish line. Breaking into a lope disqualifies the rider.

I like this photo because the horse's head is the only thing in focus. I used the action feature on the Canon because it offered the best exposure.

Keyhole, another timed event: rider rides forward between four poles, has to make a sharp turn without stepping on or crossing a chalk line at the end of the four poles. 

Here you can see the poles better.

Next is pole bending. The ride weaves the horse between six poles. The fastest time wines. Lucy took second place.

With the horse events over, we returned yesterday to the fair grounds to watch Elinore in rabbit showmanship. I think she told me tonight that she took first. I had my doubts as I watched her. The poor little bunny's little legs shook like crazy when she was on her back. This is a new rabbit that Ellie bought this spring at the rabbit show in Cheyenne. She turned out to be a champion because she won best of show, grand champion. I was curious about the judge, that's why I used him in a mosaic. I like to watch his expressions.

With the awards ceremony happening as I write, Jen sent this photo. Ellie's little Reign took grand champion Best of Show in her breed and Ellie took first in her division for showmanship. 

Ellie's success didn't end with he 4-H fair, but she also entered the photography competition in the county fair. She took a photo of her mare, Honey and won a second place. Yes, we were really surprised because the competition is so tough.

To finish up, Lucy's leather project, a little coin purse won a blue ribbon, too. 

The girls are already planning on what they are going to be doing next year. Hope, mom can keep up with them.

And this last photo sums up Fair. The kids are to take the initiative to keep the horse barn clean so that visitors enjoy their tour as they visit the horses. The 4-H'ers are to be on hand to keep the barn clean and to visit with the public, showing their horses and equipment and answering questions. 

So as I left Wednesday after the last event, I turned to take one last look to see Lucy sweeping.

One Last Thing

I'll be linking with Maggie at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday. I hope you get as much of a kick out of the Rabbit Mosaic as I did. I am also going to join Susannah at The August Break 2018 to take a photo everyday.  She provides a list of suggested topics and I am choosing "Younger Me." It's a simple concept because any one of these photos certainly reminds me of a younger me back in the days when I spent my life with a horse, my friend, my companion, my spirit. 

And a PS

I've updated the dollhouse blog with my clock project. Take time to see what's ticking over there.

Thanks for stopping by. 

A Rose by Any Other Name

Jackson and Perkins roses have been in the garden for at least 10-12 years. This year they have been spectacular. The bushes were taller and...