For PHOTO OF THE DAY, I have chosen an image I made back in May at Landmark Farm Alpacas, in Grassy Creek, NC.

You are now face to face with an alpaca telling you it is National Alpaca Farm Days…dummy! Today and tomorrow. Go hug an alpaca!!! No wait…better not…don’t want to get spit on.

What a hoot…those alpacas. They’re terribly curious, yet shy at the same time. What I found most entertaining about alpacas is how they eat. They are ruminants, like sheep and cows, who chew their cud.

An alpaca will chew roughage with its jaws swinging left-right, left-right, in a figure eight motion. Just like you did as a kid before your mama scolded you. When I was at the farm in May, the alpacas had just been shaved. Their necks looked so long and skinny, I could clearly see them swallow.

It went something like this…chew, chew, chew your cud…you little spud. Then swallow…and whoa..looks like a projectile elevator going straight down that long neck to the stomach chambers. Ahhh. But then wait a sec…here comes the projectile elevator zipping right back up to unload in the mouth. More figure eights…chew, chew, chew…down the gullet express…pause…regurgitate and back up we go…repeat as often as needed. I was laughing my ass off watching this. Farm chick humor!! But that’s a ruminant for ya. They are highly efficient eaters. Two to three bales a month per alpaca is all  it takes. Not to be french kissed.

And forget about petting an alpaca. That is so not their thing. Paleeze!

They are best for observing and they don’t seem to mind a bit if you watch them eat.

It’s National Alpaca Farm Days! Landmark Farm Alpacas, here in the northwestern corner of NC, is open to visitors all weekend, as are many alpaca farms across the country.

So watcha’ think? Alpaca ya off to the farm????






I made so many photos yesterday, I have barely looked through them all. The morning started off early with the vet coming over to do Grayson’s gelding.

It’s funny. When I called the Social Security office to reschedule an appointment I had made ages ago for yesterday morning, the woman wanted to know my reason for not coming. I told her my pony was scheduled for gelding and his other mom was in New Orleans with her father who is dying. Silence. She asked me a few more things, then asked again, why did I have to reschedule? This time I told her my pony was being CASTRATED. No more repeat questions.

So if you didn’t catch that….yesterday was Grayson’s Castration. And Elizabeth was in New Orleans with her father as he passed peacefully last night.

I am so glad she was there for him, as he was for her.

Several hours after Grayson’s Castration, when I figured he wouldn’t swell up like a basketball, I went to Grayson Highlands State Park to photograph all 18 of the ponies up for auction. I made soooo many photos. There are a lot of pinto ponies with brilliant markings so I tried to get both sides. Some are just pipsqueaks! I knew Elizabeth would want to see the final round-up. She knows many of the grown ponies personally. Tomorrow at 2 pm…that’s their big day…when I hope each and everyone of them finds a good home.

But let’s get on with Photo of the Day, I thought I’d keep it simple.

(So I’m cluttering this up with words instead of photos you ask? Oh Hush!)

While my friend Janice held Grayson’s head during surgery, I was free to shoot. I have a lot of graphic photos that are definitely not appropriate to share. Especially with men. I barely started to describe the procedure when Recluse Man hugged his balls and walked off. What a sight…Mr Macho lover-boy doing the totem-scrotum-shuffle.

Forgive me if you think the same of the following…but the three of us farm chicks in the stall with Grayson, found it hilarious. After the vet clipped the testicles, she tossed them aside. And who was there for a snack??? … my lil Linguini! …

LINGUINI & MEATBALLS!POTD_9_25_15_1GLUMPP…Farm Fresh!!!POTD_9_25_15_2…like mini-mountain oysters

(btw…Elizabeth came up with ‘Linguini & Meatballs’ in a text this morning….good to know her humor is intact even though she is so sad about her dad….come home soon Mama E!)

PHOTO OF THE DAY – IT’S WHAT’S FOR LUNCH! – September 24, 2015

Obviously, I did not make this Photo of the Day. No No No. Recluse Man did.

This should have been Recluse Man in the photo. Yes Yes Yes.

I reckoned there was a slight chance of sweet-talking RM into the pond to disperse of the overabundance of watercress … but as soon as I discovered a soggy mouse nest the size of a fishbowl in one foot of the waders, the man ran for dear life.

So it was left to me to harvest our lunch…here is Photo of the Day…POTD_9_23_15

Oops…there I go getting sucked in…POTD_9_24_15_6

What happened to the blond in the pond??…POTD_9_24_15_7

Boy am I hungry…POTD_9_24_15_5I’m submitting this to Survivor…POTD_9_24_15_4Lunch…at last!!!POTD_9_24_15

And another bad poem just for you…

Over watercress I obsess…

in our pond there’s such excess…

so I wiggle into my armored battle dress…

and with great finesse I coalesce…

ripping out those suckers who I then possess…

no need for GPS…

they are everywhere to my distress.

To the watercress I address…

This Pond I Will Repossess!!

Salad for all…such success!

Now let me undress…

from these freekin’ waders as I confess…

I look like Bouncing Bess…

in need of her Pony Express.

PHOTO OF THE DAY – A WALK IN THE ‘HOOD – September 23, 2015

Photo of the Day was made yesterday when Elizabeth stopped by. We both agree, one of our very favorite things to do is a walk to the New River with Gyps and the Pips. Gypsy and Pockets love to get in the river…Grayson…not so much. That patootie-face.

We mosey…we play…we look for clouds on the mountain…and the best patches of grass…and we always walk slower heading home…FG_34_POTD_9_23_15

Like fall freckles, Peak Mountain is showing tiny specks of red. In the spring, I love watching this mountain turn green from the bottom up. This time of year the colors shimmy down and around in a brilliant undressing. In a month the mountain will be bare and we’ll be lighting fires and bundling up for our walks.

They say it will be a spectacular year for fall color. Who are ‘they?’ I hope THEY are right…but not about the predictions of a bitter winter ahead. Got that…THEY?

Clearly, there are no wonders at all why I hate to leave this farm.

PHOTO OF THE DAY – THE ALARM COCK – September 21, 2015


Photo of the Day … I shot yesterday…on someone else’s farm…rooster3If I had an alarm cock…

I would send it to the chopping block…

no more gawk and squawk…

no more doodle doo double talk…

we’ll put the cock in the crock…

with some chicken stock…

turn up some old rock…

do the moon walk…

make some sweet talk…


PHOTO OF THE DAY – BENTLEY – September 19, 2015

For Photo of the Day, I have chosen an old favorite. It’s from my first summer on the farm, when I had a horse I loved to pieces. Here is Bentley, in his free-range meadow below Peak Mountain. Even though he’s just a small part of the image, it’s one of my favorites. I know he was having a blast at that very moment.


It was three years ago today my heart broke. Bentley, my long-legged, Thoroughbred…horse of my dreams…passed early that morning all peacefully curled in a corner of the paddock.

When I found him at breakfast, he was still warm. It was a crisp, mountain morning and Gypsy was standing nearby as I howled and sobbed. I laid my body against Mr B and held onto him as I calmed myself by telling him what a wonderful friend he had been. Then no words…just quiet…as I stroked his warm body. Slowly, a certain peace filled me and I realized what a beautiful passing it had been.

Bentley’s head was resting against the fence rail and I realized his last view of life on earth was the stunning awakening of a new day. His favorite free-range pasture was sparkling with sunlit dew beyond the barn he loved so much. Peak Mountain commanded in the distance. Gypsy was nuzzling him when I found them. It was the best passing I could have ever wished for my dear old friend.

BENTLEY-BI miss you Bentley. I think of you nearly everyday. All the fun we had…all the trails we rode…all the seasons we traveled thru together. Mr B & Me2

Your spirit lives on here at the farm and most especially at Mr B’s barn.Bentley_snow-B-2BENTLEY, affectionately known as Mr. B.

April 16, 1998 – September 19, 2013

PHOTO OF THE DAY – HUMMER OF A SHOT – September 17, 2015

For Photo of the Day #3, I have chosen this ‘hummer of a shot’ I made earlier this summer.

Notice the shadow of a bird you cannot see. Or rather, you see just her blurred wing behind the feeder…but her entire body you see only in the shadow. Cool eh? I get a peaceful, easy feeling looking at this image. Everybody looks happy. That’s some sweet early morning, summer light on those hummers…FG_577_POTD

I was so tickled midsummer when I discovered the hummingbird shadows on the post. In fact it kind of blew my mind. It was mesmerizing and beautiful to behold, clearly. But why had I never noticed this before?

My blown mind had no answers. Yes, we have a lot of foggy, misty early summer mornings in the valley, and yes, I have moved the feeders around, and yes, it’s just a certain time of the summer…but still. Why, in the previous six summers here, had I never before noticed the shadows on the post?

I have learned you can’t dwell on questions without answers for too long. Except maybe … does God exist? … am I for Real? … how long before Toots stops barking at night?

I looked forward to clear mornings, for the chance to slow down and view some magical hummingbird shadow dancing.

Actually it was more like DIVE-BOMBING. Freekin’ THIRSTY NINJAS. Traffic like SINGAPORE. Making DEMANDS thru the WINDOW. SPYING on ME. Using MY RED MUG for TARGET PRACTICE. SUGAR ADDICTS THEY ARE … going thru 24 POUNDS OF SUGAR!!!



(breathe deep Fred…get a grip)

As you may have surmised, I have Jekyll and Hyde feelings for hummingbirds. Consider the upper photo as a sight for Dr Jekyll, when he moseyed out onto his deck in the morning with his bowl of Cheerios. He was feeling at one with the cosmos, gazing at those silly little hummers.

While I see in this runner-up photo below, something completely different…a touch of chaos…multiple personalities…Mr Hyde with a beak and wings shows up and Who is Who?? Who is Real? Shadow below…where’s the body? Shadow to the right…belongs to far right body? Shadow to the left…oops not a shadow…Dr Jekyll where are you?POTD-1A for #3

Am I getting carried away? Please say yes. I have been looking at way too many hummer photos.

So I’ll kindly share a few more favorites then hush my mouf. But first I must add, I miss those terrorists. They are mostly gone now, and there’s a sense of calm on the deck. Soon I will take down the feeders. I miss all the excitement of being dive-bombed and spied upon.  I’ve got the hummer bummers.

I think this must be a baby hummer on the left…check out the lil fluff-puff..FG_593_3

A scene from the great Holy Hummer Sugar-Water Wars…

They seem a bit more subdued when it rains…FG_006_2

More peaceful. Like…yes, let’s come out of the rain together for a refuel…but let us first give thanks to the girl who whips up this kickass ninja-juice…FG_007_2

Other viewers…other motives…FG1_0085 copy

Dream on Moondust….FG1_0080

 No worries…she has never caught one in her big fat life.

See you tomorrow….








PHOTO OF THE DAY – PONKEY PRANK – September 16, 2015



(answers below)


  4. AFFIRMATIVE!!!!!!!!

Let me explain. I made this photo Sunday evening after a long day of attending to Gypsy’s sudden lameness. She showed up for breakfast hobbling into the barn. It looked serious. Her fetlock was warm and swollen and a little squishy. Perhaps a sprain? I cold-hosed Gypsy’s leg several times thru the day, applied liniment, gave her stall wraps, kept her confined, kept a close eye on her, and then let her out in the paddock with the Pips for the evening.

The entire time the Pips were PERFECT PESTS!!! It was the first time ever in their short lives, my attention was entirely focused on Mama G. “WAAAAAAAH?” said Pockets.

The Pips were mostly in cahoots, but this was strictly a Pockets-Prank. I had filled a water tub for overnight in the gated-paddock. (Normally Gyps and the Pips drink from the creek in the pasture.) After 15 minutes or so, I noticed the water was nasty-dirty. Now how did that happen, I wondered. I dumped the water and reminded myself not to fill it so full.

Then look who came over to investigate…suddenly things became clear as the hose water….FG_105_2

 I encouraged that ponkey to Move On…Move On Lil Ponkey…MOVE ON…FG_107_1

Well that didn’t last long…a ponkey has a lotta curiosity doncha know…FG_110_1 copy

Uncontrollable, unfathomable, unbelievable curiosity….FG_112_1

To the point of ponkey-pestiness…FG_130_1“HEY GIT OUTTA HERE YOU PANFRIED PINTSIZED PESTY PONKEY!!”FG_131_1And that my friends, is the story behind your Ponkey-Prank Photo of the Day

PHOTO OF THE DAY – STAR – September 15, 2015

I am feeling hopelessly undisciplined when it comes to blogging.

I need a whipping. Or the boot. Or to be roped to my chair and handcuffed to my keyboard.

Or perhaps consider writing geek-porn.

But no. What I really need is…you ready?…

Taaaah Daaaah…. loud drumroll please…



I hereby announce this very scary and hugely intimidating concept …just the thought of it is making my fingers perspire on the keyboard … (or was that the ‘roped to my chair’ thought?)…of posting one photo (well maybe more)… each and every day.

There. I said it. Obviously that was not easy.

A photo a day. Day after day…photos and more photos. Everyday.

I don’t know what-the-heck kinda photos yet…maybe they will be very recent, maybe pulled from old travel archives. Maybe I’ll tell you a little story…maybe not. Let’s grow it together.

So without further ado…my very first PHOTO OF THE DAY.

I have chosen a horse of course.Star2


I have a crush on this horse called Star. He lives on a farm nearby and I have been working with him off and on since we first met in January. Plans are in the works to get him here to my farm for fall and winter. I am a teenager on the verge of a LOVE MELTDOWN just thinking about it.

What’s special to me about this photo, is that it is a very flattering photo and just about the only flattering one I have ever made of Star since I began photographing him in January.

Star usually looks dorky. He is the brother who ruined every family photo crossing his eyes or picking his nose. Star holds his head high like a giraffe, and is lean like a runway model. Sometimes I look at my photos of him and I promise he looks like two skinny guys on stilts wearing a horse head costume.

I made this photo last Saturday, right as it started to rain and I was packing up my cameras. Something startled Star across the road. He trotted a few steps away from me, then stood staring with great intensity. I knew it wouldn’t last long. I grabbed the moment. Or is it seized? Yes, I seized the moment and grabbed a great shot.

I spent a long time on this photo in PhotoShop. Color looked gaudy to me, so I gave it a sepia tint. I cloned out a bunch of bothersome stuff in the background…fence lines…a hay feeder…rocks…a tree. I added a little glow. I cropped it a great deal.

And now, I can’t stop looking at it. I think it’s a pretty nice photo of a horse…the pose certainly…but I think I’m in love and all goo-goo eyes over the subject so there’s no way can I be objective.

Alas…my very first  PHOTO OF THE DAY.

Whew..that wasn’t so hard.

OK… now for my favorite dorky photo of Star … (you knew I couldn’t do just one).

Below is Star on the left, with his pal Buck on the right. Together they are Star-Buck and that makes them extremely happy … see what I mean? And then there’s the eyeball-mauling emu photobomb…. star-buck

Cripes!!! … what have I gotten myself into???