PHOTOS OF THE DAY – STAR PART IV – November 17, 2015

I don’t have many photos to share today. I was more focused on a training session with Star, and didn’t want to distract our efforts by pulling out my camera. When I did, there was a break in concentration that wasn’t worth losing over a few photos.

We did not fully load in the trailer today, but once again, we made strides.

Am I talking like we are one?

Hell…if we were, he’d be dictating from the couch, after whipping up a carrot cake for us.

I want my boys to make life easy. Or rather…I want to make life easy on my boys? (Consult Recluse Man for the answer)

That will take awhile.

Meanwhile… bottom line…Star got his front legs inside the trailer today, and both back legs on the ramp. It only happened once, but I was beaming the rest of the afternoon. We got two legs on the ramp many times…but OMG…the flat, inside part was the scariest.

“I am a girl in constant sorrow…if only I get that horse here tomorrow.” (sorry…but that tune just popped into my head)

We started on Sunday with butt ropes and multiple lead lines and tricks and treats…and lots of resistance and lots of high pawing and scary rearing up.

Today, there was much pawing on the ramp (good sign)…but the rears were wimpy and few compared to Sunday, (double good sign). And there was so much more trust without restraints, and positive rewards after Star realized resistance wasn’t worth the effort.

Of course there was only me, (like yesterday)…not a whole gang of human strangers, (like Sunday)…and none of his horse buddies to cop the treats. Or dogs. Well waitaminute…that damn puppy ran through my car twice today…leaving muddy paw prints all over the place. And eating horse treats. Damn. Sorry Rita…but DAMNDAWG!

At the end of the day, I wasn’t disappointed about not fully loading Star in the trailer. I think we were both a little surprised, feeling a renewed connection we shared many months ago. The tiny gestures. The eye contact. The mutual understating and reactions over certain behaviors.

They were subtle…and clear…in a way I never get from communicating with people.

Maybe Star was thinking…duh…you human-girl…you are finally catching on.

Fortunately, I have the trailer on loan for a few more days. Tomorrow will be a wash-out, and too wet to pursue. So maybe Thursday is the day…or Friday. And that could be the first Thursday or Friday in December. But I hope not.

I have learned so much from these training sessions. But most of all…I have felt this joy, working with a horse I admire.

Star is so green…maybe that’s part of the attraction. I like to think I’m the first human he’s learned to trust. Lofty thoughts aside…I know he connects…as much as a horse can do….if you are not a bale of hay, or scoop of grain.

Blah blah blah…here are some photos of the day…late tonight… hay ho…hay’s off to work we go…POTD_15_11_17_StarIII-5

Three mules-of sorts…lookin’ for the payload…POTD_15_11_17_StarIII-4

See Star-mule…waaay off in the distance…is it dejå vu…all over agin?POTD_15_11_17_StarIII-2

Less rearing…more pawing…and forward movements beyond yesterday that I did not capture…you just have to believe…and tell Star the same…POTD_15_11_17_StarIII-1




PHOTOS OF THE DAY – DR. RM SPOCK – November 16, 2015

For those of you who have been following the adventures of Star…the horse that is sooner or later bound for my farm…here is the latest.

Star did not load in the trailer all the way today, but we made great strides. Janice was sweet enough to leave her trailer behind so I could work with Star in a more relaxed environment. Just one on one with a trailer. Like Aaron Rodgers says…RELAX!

But then I started to realize…there is no such thing as a relaxed environment at this farm. In fact, there are a ton of distractions in the neighborhood. For being out in the country on a dead end road, there are horses all around, and people jogging and walking, and dogs barking and stealing my gloves and lead lines, and trucks and cars, and the mailman and neighbors. But what finally ended our session? The loud blasts of gunshots nearby! Even the Great Pyrenees slumbering out of sight, was glued to my leg after that.

It had been awhile since Star and I had a training session together, so I spent time with him first off, working in the round pen. A refresher crash course of sorts. I made some spooky stuff for him to walk on…a huge length of plastic wrap with corrugated tin underneath. He walked over it so many times, it got booooring. Could a ramp to a trailer be scarier than that?

Apparently so…this is as far as we got….looks real scary…eh?POTD_15_11_16_Spock_3

I used a stick and a flag and tips I learned in videos I watched, but overall I found that I wanted him to trust me, without instilling fear. I want to make him feel like the trailer is a happy space. We were on the verge…until the damn gunshots….POTD_15_11_16_Spock_4

Now you’re wondering…. WHAT THE HECK? Where does Dr. RM Spock fit into this?

Well, lemme back up. When I go to Star-Bucks, I have to round up the horsies first. Their pasture is huge and very steep and lately they favor the uppermost parts. I drive up in my trusty Subaru, but it sure makes things easier if I have a helper, shaking the bucket of grain, enticing the three stooges down to the lower pasture. Then I single out Star, and jump the creek with him, to move him into the paddock with the round pen. And that’s where the scary-ass trailer is parked.

Elizabeth is a pro at this, however she wasn’t available this morning.

But look who showed up…to beam the horsies down!!!!

It’s DR. RM SPOCK!!!!POTD_15_11_16_Spock_1

He kept saying crazy shit like…

“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”

“Change is the essential process of all existence.”

“Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

He was getting heady as I got the halter ready….I couldn’t help myself…



And with that, he disappeared.

Still… I must say…DR. RM SPOCK…ROCKS.



starlight II-2

There are plenty of documentary photos from the attempted trailer loading of my friend Star today. However…I would rather not edit them now and be reminded of the hours we spent futily trying to load that stubborn mule.

I had the very best of help with Team Trailer Star…thanks to Karen, Janice, Elizabeth, and Recluse Man. I thought Recluse Man might ride away on Buck while we weren’t watching. I mean…he had big feelings for that horse. But there was no breaking up Star-Buck today.

After more than two hours of rearing and balking and roping and walking…we chose to leave the trailer behind.

I will work with Star tomorrow…hopefully getting him adjusted and loading in the trailer with no big distractions.

Team Trailer Star and I would rather have it go peacefully and naturally…even if it takes a few days…rather than use force and fear tactics.

But keep in mind…YOU STUBBORN MULE…THE FORCE IS WITH US!!!!POTD_15_11_15_Star_stubborn

So there’s your stubborn mule Photo of the Day.

PHOTO OF THE DAY – STAR LIGHT- November 14, 2015

star light text copy

For Photo of the Day…here is Star, (my wish), in the lead during this afternoon’s round-up. What is it about this horse??  He’s a scrawny-doofus-goofball…yet I am smitten…POTD_15_11_14_Star

Elizabeth helped me herd the horsies to a lower paddock at their farm a few miles away. The plan is to load Star on a trailer bound for my farm, first thing tomorrow morning.

Wishes be true!!! I will have the whole winter to work with him and love on him and train him.

The light this afternoon was striking. The sun was so low, even though only 3 pm. Such a blue sky and crisp shadows. It was a wacky-wonderful round-up shoot-and-visit.

Wish I had the energy to share more photos.

No…I take that back. I only have one wish for tonight.

See you tomorrow Mr. Star-light.


PHOTO OF THE DAY – FRIDAY THE 13TH – November 13, 2015


Today I learned a new word…


I had to copy/paste to keep from getting whiplash trying to spell it out. That is one crazy looking word…especially pasted all big and bold.

Any word that starts with ‘frigga’ I’m gonna like. Or at least I thought.

Friggatriskaidekaphoboia: noun

1. having a morbid or irrational fear of Friday the 13th.

Consider we have had a Friday the 13th this year in February, March and November. Today is exactly 39 weeks since the Friday the 13th in February. That’s 3×13 weeks. The Friday the 13th prior to that was June 13, 2014, exactly 3×13 weeks in-between. Next year’s only Friday the 13th is May 13, 2016, and… you got it….3×13 weeks from today. I learned that on EarthSky. They write about cool things.

But maybe I shouldn’t have read that first thing this morning, because my day sure went downhill from there.

In fact, I have developed a bad case of …


I should have listened to ‘Blue’ … my not-black cat in the loft who told me to…keep a low profile…don’t go outside…take long naps….accept any petting that leads to purring.

For Photo of the Day…meet the opposite of…friggatriskaidekaphoboia.

Oh Blue…POTD_15_11_13_BlueI should have listened to YOU!


Last month the famous Woolly Worm Festival was held in Banner Elk, NC. It’s a BIG deal. HUGE crowds. Woolly worms GALORE.

During two days of celebrating mountain life, the grand finale is the final heat of the woolly worm races. There are usually about 1000 woolly worms competing! They race up strings…worming their way to the top…until the final winner is declared. Fastest woolly worm takes all, ($1000). From that winner we get the winter forecast. I learned there are thirteen segments to a wolly worm’s body that supposedly correspond to the thirteen weeks of winter.

Did you hear that? Since when do we only have thirteen weeks of winter?

Twinkle Toes won this year and it looks like a dreary, cold winter. Twinkle Toes was last seen heading for Key West.

Meanwhile back on the funny farm, I found my own woolly worm and devised my own techniques for racing and predicting the winter.

All it took was a dirty-nosed pig named D.O.G., and a woolly worm I found on the driveway. I figured whichever way that woolly worm stomped off the pig, that was the direction I would take for the winter.

For your Photos of the Day…here is my version of a woolly worm race.


OK …so that was only a warm-up. The woolly worm headed north and was about to be squished by D.O.G. I will neither allow squishing, nor northward bound worms in this race!POTD_15_11_12_wollypig_2_A

So now for the real thing…POTD_15_11_12_wollypig_3

Looking Good!! Heading SOUTH at a strong pace…and D.O.G is rootin’!!!!POTD_15_11_12_wollypig_5

Woo Hoo! Back flip down the steep part!!!!POTD_15_11_12_wollypig_6

That’s IT! D.O.G. and I are heading south for the winter…POTD_15_11_12_wollypig_7So long…Recluse Man!

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – ROADBLOCKS – November 11, 2015

Coming around the bend this morning, on my way to Tucker farm for a date with a handsome three year old named Dart, I ran into a roadblock. Well not exactly. I rather thought the roadblock might run into me.

I slammed on my brakes and jumped out of my car with my camera in hand….shaking my head…muttering, “Oh Brother.” (love to mutter)

I recognized these roadblocks. In fact a few years ago I corralled these very roadblocks. They live on the other side of a ridge, in the next valley over from the funny farm. Twice that day, the owners, including four kids of varying sizes, had to come get their roadblocks and lead them home.

They sure were beautiful this morning. I had to have some fun shooting these guys before I found someone to call the owners.

For Photos of the Day…sometimes they run right in front of me!!!

Here is what I drove up on. This is when I said, “Oh Brother….I know these roadblocks.”POTD_15_11_11_loose_horses

Are the roadblocks headed my way? I know they are friendly…POTD_15_11_11_2_loose_horses

Wait a minute…they are not roadblocks….they are rush hour traffic…in a mighty big rush!!!POTD_15_11_11_7_loose_horses

I had a strong urge to get out there and run with them…POTD_15_11_11_8_loose_horses

Well maybe I did…POTD_15_11_11_5_loose_horses

I could hear them…WE ARE FREE!!!!POTD_15_11_11_6_loose_horses

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!!POTD_15_11_11_4loose_horses

WHAT A SHOW IT WAS!POTD_15_11_11_3_loose_horsesAshe County roadblocks and rush that’s country living!


…on my way home, it was good to see the roadblocks were safely back in their pasture… behind a mangled gate.


PHOTO OF THE DAY – INNER IMELDA – November 10, 2015

I’m starting to think D.O.G. the pig, has a bit of Imelda Marcos in his bloodlines….and here’s why.

I change shoes often throughout the day. It’s always a quick decision…like…going down to the barn in the mud? (muck boots)…. going for a hike with my girls? (hiking boots)… going to town for errands? (any shoes that are clean)…going to stay inside at the big Mac? (slippers).

No mind fuss. No shoe fuss. It is what it  is.

But the pigster? Oh My DOG! He has the hardest time making up his mind. And he doesn’t even wear shoes!!! I asked for his help once…but never again.

Here’s what happens….POTD_15_11_10_shoe_fetishThank you very much pigster…but could you fetch my cowboy boots from downstairs?

OK…I hear ya…you’re embracing your inner Imelda.

PHOTO OF THE DAY – ONE BOURBON – November 9, 2015

It’s an endless hard-rain day on the farm. Even the pig refuses to go out and pee.

I went out to run errands and when I returned, I was so surprised to see D.O.G. in the exact same spot near the couch and my computer, as when I left. Surprised, because Recluse Man is home today and normally he insists, the pigster always wants to go out after I leave. Ahem…yeah right.

I need a hidden camera.

With that said, Recluse Man and I decided to turn this rainy Monday afternoon into the football Sunday I missed yesterday. RM is busy fixin’ enchiladas. Now the pig will never leave.

On my way home from errands in town, I was scanning radio stations and picked up George Thorogood’s song; One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer. I knew right then…singing at the top of my lungs…what the Photo of the Day would be.

Man Oh Man… I cranked it up. Seemed like the perfect song on a rainy day. I swear the three dogs in the back seat were jammin’ too. Of course they’re always jammed back there.

What really floored me was when I got home and shared this with Recluse Man only to discover…he did not know this song. How could that be??? It’s nearly a national anthem on the party scene. It’s the ultimate drinking song. This song I grew up on. This song is revered in bars and honkey-tonks around the world. This is a song that many a person has passed out to, fallen off a bar stool, sung to their better-half…always with a smirk and some gravel in the throat. Yet somehow bypassed my Recluse Man??…the musician!!!

So what did I do? Why I played the track on my Mac so loud the tortillas were a-jumpin’ outta the pan.

“Nope…never heard it…but I do like Miles Davis,” Recluse Man said. Could that be? Even D.O.G. was searching for some scotch at that point, for pigs sake!

With that in mind…let me present Photo of the Day…from my Animal Garden Shop collection….POTD_15_11_09_one_bourbon

The really cool thing about this POTD is that my mom made the photo. She was a gifted amateur photographer who concentrated on nature photography. She was a biologist and wrote a weekly nature column for the local paper in Oswego, NY. Her subjects were varied. Anything from trilliums to cockroaches to bogs and woodpeckers. Intimate and educational, finely crafted… that was her style.

There was an old fashioned glass bottle of Pepsi in the original negative that I cropped for my Animal Garden Shop version. The table looks like it’s in a science lab. This makes me wonder…what the heck was going on when she shot this? Was she a mad scientist?…hooked on Pepsi?…partying with the dogs? I don’t remember that dog from any family albums.

But mad scientist? NO

Hooked on Pepsi? NO

Partying with the dogs? MAYBE…(likely)

I hope my mom, if she’s watching over me, will get a kick out of the George Thorogood lyrics I added.

So there’s my take on a rainy-ass Monday.

Thanks mom, for the inspiration…and George Thorogood too.

Wish you could join me for enchiladas with three dogs and a D.O.G.

PHOTOS OF DAY – STILL THE SAME – November 8, 2015

Recluse Man is in the background making a fuss. He hasn’t seen me all day. Imagine that.

I have to periodically shout at him to HUSH!!!!! It’s POTD TIME….GIT LOST.



We don’t usually shout, but I was so stoked by the Panthers win…no matter how much I love the Packers. Sometimes it feels so good to SHOUT.

And even better? Recluse Man had a roaring fire and delicious pot of soup waiting for me.


I went to Raleigh and back today, to do an annual family portrait shoot for Christmas. I love this family. We’ve been doing this for ten years. At the beginning, there were five in the family…then two spouses were acquired…then two of the cutest grand kids. Also…two generations of dogs. We get serious and then we get silly….wherever we end up.

Today we photographed in downtown Raleigh and after the shoot, I asked my friends to lead me to St Mary’s…my high school alma mater. I forgot how lovely Raleigh can be. Driving through some of the old neighborhoods with such magnificent Victorian architecture, and seeing the new hip spots for coffee and local brew; I felt a twinge of missing city culture. How long is a twinge? Twinge disappeared once I saw the mountains in the distance on I-40.

For Photos of the Day…thanks to Karin who made these photos…here I am exactly 40 years later, at St Mary’s School. I graduated from St Mary’s high school in the class of 1976. I spent  my junior year at another private high school called Stuart Hall, in Staunton, Virginia. The two years prior, at a public high school in Ohio. Collectively you could say, I spent all of my high school years (1972-1976) in total rebellion…trying to escape from wherever I landed.

Looking at these photos you might surmise…I am still trying to escape.

This time I had my car keys in my pocket and no worries about going AWOL.

What’s totally crazy??? I realized I am still wearing the same kinda clothes I wore in high school. Jeans and cotton tops made in India. Some values you never want to escape from…POTD_15_11_08_St_Marys_1

“WOO HOO!!!”POTD_15_11_08_St_Marys_2

“Got me a high school diploma and headed for Player’s Retreat!”POTD_15_11_08_St_Marys_4-1

“Better yet…FOOTBALL ON THE FARM!”POTD_15_11_08_St_Marys_5

(PS… Class of ’76…I never made the Junior League)