It’s been a very full and wonderful week. I am so pooped I just want to…
Now for another piece of that watermelon. See ya tomorrow.
It’s been a very full and wonderful week. I am so pooped I just want to…
Now for another piece of that watermelon. See ya tomorrow.
It finally happened. This day I’ve been waiting for. This stellar day. This unforgettable, magical, splendorific, day. This huge deposit made to my memory bank day.
This I-rode-Star-for-the-very-first-time day.
Yup. After first meeting this wild and scrawny two year old Saddlebred in early January 2015, then taking him on as a rescue project of sorts, then bringing him to the Funny Farm in December 2015 when Recluse Man bought him for me as a Christmas gift, then gentling him and getting him healthy and strong and acquainted with the ways of humans, then putting him in the hands of a great trainer for a month of lessons…today was the day I have been dreaming about. Today I climbed on that handsome boy of mine and rode him safely and assuredly for the very first time.
We walked and trotted and turned half circles and full circles and backed and stopped and did pretty side passes. And this was only the fifth time Star has had a rider aboard. The first four times, Star’s trainer Jim Frazier, rode him and in fact started him out today under saddle with only a halter and lead rope to guide him.
Despite his sometimes crazy and skittish Saddlebred ways, Star has been a remarkable student with a rider up. A quick study. He has a soft mouth and responds with great willingness to leg pressure. To get to this point wasn’t always easy. We worked doggedly together, the three of us, and now we’re here.
Ask me if I’ve been smiling.
Aaaah yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I knew you’d ask.
A very happy rider indeed…
Could it be that even Star is smiling?
Perhaps the happiest girl in the whole wide world. Me. Today. Yes.
I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place to be at 7:18pm this evening.
Where were you?
NEVER LET YOUR MIND TELL YOUR HEART NOT TO WANDER
(I love where my heart wanders with a horse named Star)
Never have I experienced such destruction and absolute disregard for my cherished flower gardens as I have this summer. And we’re only a few days into summer. Sigh.
First it was D.O.G. the pig chomping my flower beds near the house. He was dainty at first, just nibbling blossoms and leaving me the dirt and naked stems still in box shapes from their original containers, yanked from the ground, and scattered about for easy replanting.
I almost gave him credit for being thoughtful. That lasted all of two days.
After blessing and replanting over a dozen box shapes, I barricaded the beds with big logs. That ungrateful, thoughtless pig plowed through the barricades and tore up entire beds, flinging dirt and returning to the porch with a snout black and rich with fermented horse poo, garden soil and mushroom compost. His favorite blend, apparently.
Next came the deer. We busted them at dawn the other morning, grazing down the flowers I had so joyfully planted near the pond.
“Your heads will be hanging above the mantle,” I shouted, as they jumped the fence and loped ever so gracefully away. I believe there were still zinnias dangling from their chops.
So what’s a farm chick to do but savor her lily pads. They may be my last hope for some beauty among the beasts. Never to be picked, chomped, mauled or grazed.
Here’s to a little flower power in the pond…Eat your heart out D.O.G.
Photo Of The Day is also Pick Of The Day.
From my morning walk to the beautiful New River meadow…
…a little Flower Power for you.
(Dear D.O.G. the pig…please don’t eat the daisies)
Funny. Every time I send a text message or email to my beloved saying something profound like; ‘Hey baby…taking a break from wacking…where you be?’ or; ‘Vibing so bad from 3 hours of wacking…pick up some munchies?’ … auto-spell kicks in and turns wacking into ‘whacky’ or ‘walking’ or ‘waking’…when I just wanna say WACKING. It makes me even more WACKED OUT than I already am.
Now to be perfectly clear (as some perfectly murky politicians might say), to be whacked-out is similar (take definition #1 below for example), but certainly not the same. As defined by Merriam Webster;
Summer has returned and so have I.
Yes Please…bring it on!
I can’t help myself. A flashy holiday rolls around and I feel this need to dress up my farm tribe and make photographs. How silly is that?
(rhetorical question…don’t bother asking the animals)
I have to wonder…in my middle-aged life…am I just now getting in touch with the inner childhood I missed out on growing up as a tomboy climbing trees…when I could have been outfitting Barbie dolls?
(no regrets…and again…don’t ask the animals)
I learned recently, there was a scientific study that determined dogs have no self-awareness with regard to how they look. I could have spared the expense of that study and offered the same conclusions (from all my farm animals), backed up by Freeka’s Funny Farm research and documentation. Lily with spaghetti drools all over her snout, the pigster with a little poo stuck to his tail, Gypsy with more brown mud on her body than natural white, Pockets with a sticky molasses nose…and they each be like…
WHY YOU LAUGHING AT ME?
I FEEL GOOD!”
(sung to James Brown tune)
However…when it comes to Christmas holiday photography, those same critters may just exhibit a little more self awareness. They’ve made it through Valentine’s Day, St Patty’s Day, Fourth of July, and Halloween, but the year is not quite complete without a few Christmas costumes and a little craziness.
I apologize to all the critters I have humiliated. Just know, in my eye you are all so fun, and yes, silly. So…what’s wrong with that? I promise never to turn y’all into Barbies.
This year I had the pleasure of humiliating someone else’s farm animals. “Whew!”… said the tribe. Took the pressure off the gang here. But as you will see, my gang did not go completely…undressed…shall I say?
Here are some favorites from here and beyond at Tucker Farm.
I’ll start with Toots and the decorating of the tree. Toots did not want to budge from the new dog bed that was taking up so much room right where I was trying to decorate our little Christmas tree. So what’s a girl to do? Yes! Decorate the dog. Well c’mon…I had to stretch out those new Christmas lights somewhere!
Toots…hoping she wouldn’t be gift-wrapped next…
I know how much Elizabeth loves having photos made with her Pips, especially to share with her family and fans at Christmas time. The Pips are such troopers as photo models, all I have to do is say…SMILE! …and look what I get…
…SMILES all around!
Never mind that Pockets was wearing a doggie outfit…that ponkey loves to dress up!
Even Grayson didn’t seem to mind the ‘faux mistletoe’…any reason to nibble…lick…kiss…
Nobody looks terribly humiliated here…right Elizabeth? (better pass out some treats real fast)
On we go to Tucker Farm. My favorite home away from home. The lady of the farm, my great friend Karen, has a good-sized tribe of rescued donkeys and goats at her barn and each year she’ll do a little Christmas slide show with her gang. I couldn’t wait to get involved. Three of my favorite horse pals live there as well, and almost living there, is another simpatico, ‘favorite-home-away-from-home’ girlfriend, Janice, who owns two of the horses.
My goat-to girlfriends…Karen on left, Janice on right…butt-heads in front…
None of the Tucker Farm critters are newbies at photo shoots. As soon as the costume container came out in the horse pasture, Dart was all into everything…
…hmmm…maybe red is really my color?
“Hey Dart…when you stick your nose in the goodies box…well who nose what will happen next…eh? Ha Ha Ha!”
(is this horse lacking a sense of humor?)
Here’s Dart’s stable mate, Louie. The twin brother of the same mother of costumes…Might have a case of stink eye going on here..
Asante…the only mare on the farm…ready to dance… …and prance……and maybe a little french kiss? (such a huzzy!)
On to the donkeys and goats. It was such a highly organized Christmas shoot with a bunch of curious models just waiting their turn.
Like a Victoria’s Secret Christmas runway show, we told them.
Yup…you believe that?
It was more like…
(goats and donkeys)…”HAY…WHAT’S to EAT in that BOX?”
(girls)…”HEY! GIT OUTTA THERE YOU RASCALS!”
That…’You’ve Goat to be Kidding’ look….
Can’t wait to unwrap my presents!
Truly…Star Struck…What Ernie was really thinking…
“Star Struck…my butt! I just wanna know if that thing on my head is…EDIBLE?”
Check out my favorite goat, Ethel. Too bad she got stuck with my middle name.
I think because of that, (ruthless teasing…you gotta understand!), she likes the idea of having grown a set of balls……now what to do with those balls???
Stormy said…”After this? I am sooo breaking into the feed room. First chance I get.”
Thanks girls…I was seeing so much red and green…I didn’t know whether to stop…or go……or just grow a mustache…
Meanwhile…back at the Funny Farm…things were getting out of control.
D.O.G. had busted into his stocking and lookee what he found!!!
DANG!…D.O.G….gimme back my Recluse Man!!!!
The Pips had found the calendar that will surely make them overnight Hollywood sensations…
My New Year’s date turned out to be a real pig…Toots spoke her first and final words of the year……and then passed out from overexertion…I caught D.O.G. ransacking the Christmas goody bags…
…then squatting on my homemade holiday cards…and is that the sports section of the paper where I circled all my winning bets??? …I will forgive that pigster…if the rest of all those wonderful creatures will forgive me…
HERE’S TO A STYLISH NEW YEAR!!!
In my ‘what the heck…better late than never‘ approach to life, I decided to do a 2017 calendar. This decision came out of the blue and was inspired by a total stranger…not so long ago. I can count the days ago. OK…maybe weeks ago. Where does the time a…go?
This is the eighth calendar in my photo career. For my last calendar in 2014, I used 86 photos and such complex layouts, I nearly strangled myself with baling twine. Or was it hari-kari with a pitchfork? When it was all over and done with, after the calendars arrived and I ripped into the box from the printer…I was proud. It was the most unique calendar of mine…ever. It was funny. It was charming. I got great feedback. I was so proud and exhausted by it, I told myself I would never do another.
Yet here I am. Again.
Without further ado, let me introduce the pages of calendar-2017…The Pips.
It started off all over the map. Initially I pulled 60+ photos as prospects. It was going to be a farm calendar…then a Pips calendar…but mostly in the end… it is a Pockets calendar.
With over 240 photos in the working folder, 67 made the cut. That little ponkey rules! It’s no wonder. She is incredibly photogenic and the most willing model around. And she loves wearing hats and beads. My kinda girl.
Here’s a little synopsis of the calendar, month by month, starting with the cover….
It was Mardi Gras season and Elizabeth, (Pips owner and #1 mama), was in her hometown of New Orleans. I was jealous. It was soooo cold on the farm. No better way to warm up than have a silly shoot with The Pips and celebrate Mardi Gras right here.
The Pips were all over-and-into the costume and bead bags. Grayson was fascinated by his ponkey-girl’s accoutrements. Pockets did not want to give up her orange shades and in fact did some laps around the pasture wearing them. Let’s have a parade! Krewe of Pips. That ponkey. That pony. We had a blast. Way better than being in the French Quarter for Mardi Gras. Well almost.
This is one of my all-time favorite photographs…
When we really get a good snow it’s a hoot to watch Pockets try to keep up with all the ‘biggers’. Those short little legs of hers! Sometimes the snow is up to her belly.
Romance abounds on the funny farm. OH MY GWAD!
What an in-between month. I had a hard time choosing the right photos. Is it still winter? Or is it spring? Can I be Irish for a day? Let’s talk. Pockets always wants to talk. And I always like to listen in. Whether it’s with Mama G or whoever else she’s yakking up. No matter how silly.
That ponkey has important things to say!
Daffodils are sprouting. Tulips too. But who cares if you are a ponkey? So long as the grass starts growing again. Then…just like the rest of us…Spring Fever sets in.
It’s time to frolic!
Back in the 90’s, I photographed the Kentucky Derby three years in a row, right down on the track on the home stretch. Although I have mixed feelings about horse racing in general, it was an incredibly exciting photography experience that had just as much to do with the hats and the crowds, as it did the horses. Every year on the first Saturday in May, you will find me watching the Kentucky Derby on TV. Then, this year (2016), it dawned on me. Why not have our own little derby? Pockets was thrilled. Any reason to dress up and wear a big, pink, floppy hat is fine by her.
But the socks? They didn’t last long.
Both Grayson and Pockets were born in June 2014, at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. Great reason to party down! What a big-sticky-fun-molasses-and-carrots-mess. The Pips would love having a birthday every month of the year.
Bring on the balloons!
Who would have thunk? A rainbow-loving ponkey!!!
Just about every time Elizabeth comes out to visit The Pips, there’s a walk involved. It’s so pretty around here, with the New River nearby and a nice big meadow for grazing. Heck yeah!
Let’s go for a walk!
Can you tell we are Panthers fans around here? Well at least when they’re having a good year…we are. Even though Pockets dreams of being a quarterback, I think she makes a better punter. A backasswards punter.
Budweiser Horses…move over! Bring on The Pips!
So much for the Great Pumpkin. Right Pockets? I don’t think she’s a believer. Otherwise, she would not be chomping Great Pumpkin offspring. Agreed?
All she wanted was to be a unicorn.
Aside from Thanksgiving, I’ve never been a big fan of November. The leaves have fallen, the days are shorter, and winter teases. Thank you Pockets, for sharing your good attitudes and bringing joy to November. Grayson too…you funny shag carpet…you.
Enjoying November Pips-style…yes!
It’s seldom The Pips are naughty, and if they are, it’s usually my fault for leaving a gate unlatched somewhere. Mostly nice they are, and certainly full of spice. Just ask Santa. He’s stuffing their stockings with horse cookies and treats…
…and don’t forget the carrots-dunked-in-molasses…paleeze!
We have done a small run of calendars with only ‘backyard’ promotions. Heck we don’t even have an e-commerce site up. It’s a project for a few friends and fans to enjoy. If you’re interested, leave me a comment or shoot me an email (email@example.com) and I’ll see if I can reserve a calendar for you. They are $15, plus $5 shipping in the US.
Happy Holidays from the tribe at Freeka’s Funny Farm!
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