Archive of ‘Freeka’ category

TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE BRAIN

By now, two days after the solar eclipse, I have seen so many gorgeous photos on FaceBook, TV and the Internet, I am feeling total syzygy. That’s a new word for me. I like it. Syzygy…the alignment of three celestial objects.

May I please be a celestial object?

I have some photographer friends who went to great lengths to make exquisite documentations of the solar eclipse. Their imagery is breathtaking. Their preparation, noteworthy. Their dedication, admirable.

Me…on the other hand? I was mostly in it for the picnic lunch date on top of my favorite nearby mountain. Recluse Man and I hadn’t even bothered to round up some Eclipse 2017 glasses. We just wanted ‘the experience.’ While making lunch I thought; well what the heck, maybe I can get some kind of depiction of the eclipse. We were not in the ‘total’ zone but not that far away either.

I packed my cameras and tripod with lunch. This favorite mountain of mine has a bald top and is truly stunning with a 360º perspective on the world below. Very quiet up there. Very solitary. Very magical. In maybe a dozen visits, I have only encountered a young couple once at daybreak and they skedaddled in such a hurry when I showed up it made me wonder. Am I that scary with yesterday’s clothes and bed-head-hair? or…hmmm…what were they up to?

When we arrived, after passing through three gates and navigating some very rough terrain to drive to the top, (I usually hike the last steep stretch), much to my horror there were ten ATVs and a truck parked at the very spot I thought of as mine-all-mine. Sheeeeit. Music blasting. People everywhere. Not a private spot around.

I scouted a good rock and proceeded to boss Recluse Man around since he would be doing the actual shooting. “Get a great silhouette…are my hands reaching for the sun? DON”T LOOK AT THE SUN!…LOOK AT THE ROCK!…got it?…lemme see!”…and on and on as we passed the camera back and forth so I could check exposures and composition.

It got a little dark. Like a thunder cloud had passed overhead. I looked for nocturnal animals to rise from their daybeds. Nothing. I looked to my dogs to see if they would howl at the moon. Nothing. I looked at my skin waiting for goosebumps. Nothing.

Then I checked my watch. Two minutes after the full effect of the eclipse had passed. It would have been a letdown had I not been so into making photos. Oh wait a minute. Recluse Man was the one making photos…I was just posing like a bossy diva in baggy shorts. Is there such a thing?

We had our lunch afterward as the ATVs rambled around. It was anything but a sexy lunch date. I had a commitment in Virginia so we didn’t stay long, and of course the ATVs pulled out right as we did.

I got home about 8pm eclipse night and looked at the photos. Big yawn. Small Diet Coke. Wake up. Engage brain hidden behind penumbra.

And then it got crazy. Goosebump crazy. I started messing around and didn’t stop messing until 1am. Unheard of…that kind of bedtime for a farm chick. Could blame it on the Diet Coke but I was having a Celestial Experience of my very own making. I was orbiting in galactic adventures having stellar vibes and feeling COSMIC BABY COSMIC!!! Do you read me? OVER!

For the inquisitive technical minds, I started with my RAW images and either moved the temperature slider all the way blue or yellow, depending on what I had in mind. I adjusted the exposure and blacks and shadows to mostly get a silhouette, which made it easy to keep as much solar definition as I could. I’d open the image in Photoshop to tweak local areas, and then for many of the following I used textured backgrounds in ON1, or vignettes, cross-processing, glows and grunge filters; a whole variety of effects, either in ON1, Photoshop or Nik filters.

Often, as you will see, I tried different effects on the same image and had a tough time deciding which version I liked best. You decide.

At times I was breathless. Seriously. Totally. My brain felt eclipsed.

Presenting…Tah Dah (drum roll)…Eclipse Photos (not really)….

I can’t wait till 2024. Surely Recluse Man and I will have our eclipse glasses by then. Can’t forget the pig, the dogs, the horses…can forget the cats for sure…lazy critters snoozing all day. Might have a unicorn by then. Better get on it.

PHOTOS FROM YESTERDAY – HOMECOMING – AT LAST

We did it. Star and I completed a month of learning with the illustrious, indefatigable, incredible horse trainer, Jim Frazier.

The man is unending. His stamina. His dedication. His knowledge and experience. He’ll turn seventy on 9-11-17 and he kicks my butt for endurance. A truly remarkable guy.

I think some people send their horses to Jim for training and expect to pick them up a month later all ready to ride and go. Not me. Not my dear friend Janice; who had her horse there with Jim the month before Star burst onto the scene. We knew we needed to learn as much as our horses…in tandem…in harmony…lessons with Jim and our horses in a huge arena never to be forgotten. Lessons imbedded in our minds to go home with and practice, practice, practice.

Jim’s words ring in my ears. “THERE’S THE EASY WAY AND THE HARD WAY.”

At first it was, “WHY DID YOU GET YOURSELF A SADDLEBRED?!”  um…me in a small voice…”he was a rescue of sorts and I fell in love”…Jim sheeshing me. (his body language…nutso horse-lover-girl doesn’t know better). Then admitting, “WELL I TRULY BELIEVE THE 3 SMARTEST BREEDS IN ORDER ARE ARABIANS, SADDLEBREDS AND THOROUGHBREDS…THE 3 MOST HOT-HEADED BREEDS…BUT ONCE YOU GET THEIR HEADS CONNECTED TO THEIR LEGS THEY CAN TURN INTO SOMETHING GOOD.”

In my opinion, we got good. Good enough to come home with Jim’s approval and encouragement to; “KEEP GOING WITH HIM. YOU CAN’T GIVE HIM VACATION TIME. HE’S GREEN. HE NEEDS WORK.” Roger that.

However…I am giving Star the 4th of July off. He’s been ridden and worked and scolded and praised for many days in a row now. In my humble opinion he deserves to snooze in the barn with his girlfriend Gypsy, graze and lollygag around, and maybe pluck a few apples from the trees with his endlessly long neck.

Last night I hung out with them in the barn, Gypsy on one side of me, Star on the other, stroking their necks and heads and talking silly love-gooberish. I think Gypsy yawned a dozen times as their eyes got droopy and their bodies started swaying. I almost fell asleep too.  I think we were all feeling blissful-zoned-out-tired-contentment.

I texted Jim this morning… ‘It was a happy barn this morning and I am gonna spend the 4th pampering my pig who has been highly neglected and we are gonna eat watermelon together’.

That’s tough for a horse trainer to swallow. He said, ‘Holidays are made for eating pork sandwiches’. I may disagree with my fabulous horse trainer…but I will never argue. (well almost never)

I was steadfast in my insistence on loading Star in the trailer of Janice’s we had such a hard time with many moons ago. It’s a narrow two-horse trailer with a ramp and divider and a heavy gate to lift. Recluse Man has been giving this trailer a face-lift and I must say…it looks truly TrAshe county in appearance all covered in primer and painters tape, but who cares when you are a horse wanting to go HOME? (OK…it took a few flighty balks…like Star thinking… YOU ARE TAKING ME HOME IN THIS???)…never mind!

Here are some favorite photos from our homecoming…many thanks to my friends Janice and Karen for making the photos of me with my red-headed beauty and an even bigger thanks for making the journey home possible.

Here we go…

My Philosophy…Dessert First. Here is my favorite photo from yesterday depicting Dessert First…THE HOMECOMING!!!!Jim Frazier….riding Star at the end of our month of lessons…Last lap around the arena…Seriously…I always took him seriously…A few final instructions…“Anybody Home?” (Jim’s famous question)
It took 8 minutes to load Star in the trailer of our nightmares….So yeah….get on board…
Loaded and almost ready (one more balk)… Yup. Here we go….Home Sweet Home.Photo BombGypsy…way beyond just strutting her stuff…Pretty boy rolling and soaking up his turf…

Hay. You got the day off. No worries until the neighborhood fireworks go off.From all of us at the Funny Farm…

Have a happy, totally FREE-RANGE INDEPENDENCE DAY!

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – THIS DAY I’VE BEEN DREAMING ABOUT

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.

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – WACKED OUT

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;

Definition of whacked–out

  1. 1:  worn-out, exhausted

  2. 2:  wacky a whacked–out parody

  3. 3:  stoned whacked–out on drugs

MY BUM THUMB…SAID FRED THE BED

I have had many nicknames during my lifetime. Freddie, of course, is my everyday nickname. Freeka, my blog name. My mom used to call me Reeculous Ticklehoufer. I liked that name. Mainly because it came from my mom and it was just…ridiculous.

Perhaps the silliest nickname I ever acquired was, ‘Fred the Bed.’ That came from my best girlfriends at summer horse camp. I don’t think there was any relevance, or event, or behavior behind it. Just that it rhymed. These grown women still call me that. Good thing they don’t live nearby.

I share this as a preface to another dumb poem I wrote. It’s part Dr Suess and part explanation as to where the heck I’ve been all summer.

While most people kick off their summer around the Fourth of July, my happy season…my joy…my summer giddiness, came to an abrupt end that memorable weekend.

Hark ye revelers…for the story of my bum thumb…
thumb1

Yup..I broke my thumb falling off an ATV in Pennsylvania, going zero miles an hour. My right thumb no less. My favorite, most cherished thumb. The one that makes me a right-handed human being.

I was riding tandem, looking for photo opps, when my nephew’s girlfriend tried to turn the ATV around going up a steep embankment. As it started to roll, I elbowed my camera bag over my left shoulder and took the downhill fall with all my weight on my right hand.

CRUNCH went my thumb….followed by LOUD, NAUGHTY words that frightened the wildlife. (animal wildlife…well ok, maybe Katie too)

Here is my chauffeur, Katie, having a blast without a passenger. Behind her is the seat I fell from. Lemme tell ya…riding tandem stinks! thumb2Said Fred the Bed

Why is my thumb so Red?

Could it be Broke?

Am I Awoke?thumb3Said the Thumb

You are so Dumb!

I am about to Croak

And you just Spoke?thumb4

X-rays in Pennsylvania revealed a broken Bennett bone. That’s the bone that hinges the thumb to the rest of the hand. The bone that allows twisting, pinching, squeezing…as in the ability to brush my teeth, use a pitchfork, or wipe my butt right-handed.

Uh boy. It’s gonna be a long summer.

Said Fred the Bed

You are messing with my Head

It’s the Fourth of July

Please don’t lie.thumb5

The Yankee doctor fixed me up with a splint so I could drive the ten hours back home to my favorite Southern bone doctors. Because of the holiday weekend, and more X-rays with the Boone Ortho doctors, I didn’t have surgery until a week later.

I had the best nurse. She told me to remove my earrings and watch and any loose teeth. Then she asked a series of questions, including the standard. On a scale of 1-10…what is your pain level? On a scale of 1-10…I think they asked me at least eleven times in four hours.

thumb6Finally, she asked if I was comfortable and apologized for the long delay. Then another nurse asked another round of questions starting with the famous 1-10 pain scale opener. She concluded by asking me if I felt like hurting anyone, including myself. Whaaaa?

thumb7Now why would she ask that?thumb8Moments later…they took away my cell phone…then my thumb.thumb9Next thing I knew…there was Recluse Man in a fuzzy-wuzzy world…thumb10Said the Thumb

Play your own Drum

But wear this stiff Splint

Like a message in Cement

Oh to hell with my thumb. My hand was very swollen, my fingers were black and blue, and I had a deep wound on my outer pinky from the first splint pinching so hard.

(Outer pinky. I like that. “Hey there…wanna see my outer pinky?”…or… “OK to bring my outer pinky along?”…or…”Wow…my outer pinky is shedding!”)

Yeah…to hell with my thumb…I was feeling no pain with those big, white pills they gave me.

I decorated my splint…thumb11

…and hung out with the tribe…thumb12

FG_009 copythumb13

It felt so goofy-good to be home post-surgery. Did I mention those white pills?thumb13

One day Recluse Man was painting the barn…thumb15

…when Pockets and I decided to get in on the fun…thumb16

Uh Oh!thumb17

That wonkey ponkey!!thumb18

Dang…she figured out the self-timer?thumb19

We had a blast!thumb20

…just ask Star…thumb22

Red roller, red roller…send Lily back over…thumb21

Then one day the white pills ran out and reality set in.

May I mention the frustration from trying to use a mouse left-handed with a big-fat-right-bum thumb on the keyboard. Or getting a lefty fork all neat inside my mouth without stabbing or slobbering. Or brushing my teeth…or…tying shoelaces…buttoning… unscrewing… doorhandles… knives…cast iron pans…and OMG…showering with a plastic grocery bag up to my elbow, trying to squirt out shampoo and lather one-handed.

Maybe the worst part was how much it hurt to hold my Nikons for long. Like more than three frames.

I have even greater respect now, for all those who have found ways to overcome limb and appendage disabilities. Humans and animals alike.

Said Fred the Bed

To the Thumb she thought Dead

I will Succumb

Just please..once again be my Thumb.

You are the sum of my Yum

My very right Thumb

The strum of my Hum

The opposite of Glum!

One week after surgery, I found myself back at the doc’s office. The nurse removed the splint to reveal the two pins in my hand…I think she left the gauze for effect. I just want you to know I had the following photos full size, until Recluse Man walked by and gagged.

You can thank him for the thumbnail size. It even sounds appropriate…
thumb24

YIKES! New splint Paleeze!!! My hand was still very swollen and weak…thumb25

Three weeks after surgery I went in again for X-rays and a third splint. I shed a handful of skin as I scratched and waited and ignored the ‘no cell phone usage, no photos please’ sign.FG_007 copyMeanwhile Recluse Man had to cover me on farm chores. Secretly I was smirking. I don’t think he realized what goes into making the zoo and the farm happy everyday. Poor guy.

We got a lot of rain and the grass grew mightily.thumb 26I rounded up my own lawnmowers and pitched in…thumb 27Many days and nights passed…thumb28 thumb 29

Then finally six weeks after surgery, the pins came out! It was a little creepy..the thought of actually pulling the pins out. But it was painless and the best part…I was sent home with a removable splint.

The longest pin was 2.5″…dang. I painted my nails in celebration. After all…I was a left-handed pro by then.thumb29

I quickly switched to a thumb brace so I could finally use the mouse right-handed…thumb30

But something wasn’t right. My thumb was stiff as a clothespin and I thought it might never heal properly. Since childhood I have had a funky, right thumb. It tends to stick or pop at the knuckle. After all those weeks in a splint, it took days of massaging before I got my thumb to pop back into action.

That first pop was a thrilling moment…thumb33

Said Fred the Bed

To her comely Thumb

You are not dead but Instead

What a beauty you’ve Become

My long lost Chum!

As a footnote, (great pun…just wait), check out some photos from this Labor Day morning when our farrier worked on the barn gang. Gypsy got two front shoes, one with a pad for some sole-ful healing on her left foot.

As you can see my thumb is working just fine…thumb34

Then…whoa boy! Star had his very first shoeing experience. Another sole-ful foot healing, and as long as he was twitched (most humanely), he was the perfect client.

Right Star? thumb35Said Fred the Bed…from my thumb…to your thumb…♥♥

WHAT MEMORIAL DAY MEANS TO MY PIG

Ahhhh…Memorial Day Weekend…such a great American holiday.

Traditionally, there are family visits to cemeteries, mourning mixed with sweet memories, flag raisings, potluck dinners, neighborly get-togethers, BBQs, watermelon, lawn mowing, gardening, hiking, biking, fishing, sunbathing, the Indy 500, horseback riding (had to put that in there…right Gypsy?!), and all the good and the sad that go into this holiday. It’s a contradiction of sorts. A painful, joyful holiday. While some hurt over the loss of loved ones who died for our country in military service, others kick off the arrival of a brand new summer.

Hear Hear!

I wanted to learn more on the history on Memorial Day.

I discovered Memorial Day began after the Civil War but back then it was called Decoration Day. It was declared a holiday to honor deceased veterans by decorating their graves with flags and flowers. But whoa…the Confederates refused to celebrate on the same day those damn Yankees did, and in fact had many different days to honor their dead across the southern states.

It wasn’t until after WWI that tensions eased and a one-for-all Memorial Day was established for all American soldiers who died in any and all of our wars.

I do not have a grave to decorate, but in keeping with a new Freeka’s Funny Farm tradition…I have a live pig to decorate. Indeed, D.O.G. is booked for a deluxe spa and accoutrement session later today…on Decoration Day 2016.

On the funny farm, we lean toward the hedonistic side of this holiday, and celebrate summer with our best bohemian enthusiasm. Please allow me to share this memorable tradition, as created one year ago.

START YOUR HOSES! Mem Day1

IT’S TIME TO CHILL!! Mem Day1(gritting teeth…thinking…um…heavy camera for a selfie…just take the dang photo…will I??? …and where is the pig?)

Why there he is…hot diggity D.O.G.!!Mem Day3

Let’s call this the pre-soak. It serves to remove any loose dirt or goobery thingys…Mem Day4

What a chill way to start the festivities…right D.O.G.?Mem Day5I made preparations for the next step as the pigster rested…hose showers are exhausting!Mem Day6

In order to decorate D.O.G. properly, as I see it, he must first get a facial, followed by a pedicure, a coconut oil rub, and plenty of sun screen powder puffs. In other words…a deluxe spa treatment.

But instead of traditional spa treatments that start with herbal tea or coconut water infused with essential things we never knew were essential…D.O.G. prefers a beer. Yup. And it sure makes a pedicure easier for the pedicurist. Please don’t report us to any even-toed-ungulate-cruelty-associations. I’m telling you…this is one happy-easy-going-cooperative pig with a beer in his belly. And he is far less likely to get nicked by the clippers.

Plus it’s his favorite part of the tradition….Mem Day7

Can you tell?Mem Day8

Such admiration and appreciation for a good beer…Mem Day9

About this time I was laughing so hard it was all I could do to point and shoot without peeing my pants…Mem Day10

BEER BUBBLES!!!!Mem Day11(only a mama could love)

OK…it’s high time to get on with the spa treatments…Mem Day 12

After all…no more beer…Mem Day 13We started with a cleansing facial… Mem Day 14D.O.G. has deep folds on his face and quite a bit of eye discharge which is normal for a pig… Mem Day 15

There’s an eye in there somewhere although I have never really seen it… Mem Day 16Next…the pedicure…see Lily running away when the clippers come out… Mem Day 17I have so many clippers for dogs, cats, fences, weeds….but only one for a pig… Mem Day 18I’ll spare you the clip by clips of the job…it’s tedious and lasts about as long as the beer nap…then on to more pleasurable spa activities…a coconut oil rub and puffs of sunscreen to follow… Mem Day 19And now for the real fun…the decorating part… Mem Day 20Oops…I’m not very good at nail polish…especially with twitching toes… Mem Day 21

Isn’t that the cutest little tail? (I kept telling him. Sometimes being a blind-buzzed pig works for the best) Mem Day 22WAKE UP D.O.G.!! It’s Decoration Day!!! Mem Day 23Let’s honor our veterans… Mem Day 24…and our firefighters… Mem Day 25D.O.G. said…”Enough of this! I want to honor summertime! Too many brothers and sisters on the grill!!” Mem Day 26Well…OK then…howzabout some strawberries… Mem Day 27

I swear he was humming ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’…
 Mem Day 28That is…until the watermelon showed up… Mem Day 29UH BOY!!! Mem Day 30

…and that my friends is how we do Decoration Day on the funny farm…
 Mem Day 31

2016 tradition coming right up!!! Wake up D.O.G.!!!
 Mem Day 32It’s Decoration Day!!!!

LET IT SNOW

There’s something about a BIG snow that brings out the Neanderthal in me.

This behavior pattern…it seems to happen over and over again…whenever it seriously snows.

This is what I know.

I’ll find myself all toasty warm inside, standing at the door, mesmerized, watching a winter storm play out over the pasture below. Snowflakes putting on quite the show…suddenly sweeping sideways…or zipping upside down…or rocketing downward before crashing in a blur of mates. Their fellow snowflake-soulmates in the soulful snowflake cemetery in the pasture below. The snowful-mates are falling en masse. The snowflake cemetery is getting a pile on.

That’s when I get dizzy.

Where are the horsies? Usually I’ll see Pockets in her favorite position…looking my way from inside the little barn door.

And that’s when it happens. The Neanderthal moment. Cooped up far too long, I’ll suddenly feel like a lunatic cave woman who needs to come out of her cave-closet. It’s far more than just wanting fresh air. And it’s way worse than cabin fever.

I want to paint my face and shed my clothes. I want to run and shout and chase ponies and horses and snowflakes…like a neked crazy cave woman on the brink.

“AAARGHHGOBANSHEEEEZEETWERKERSHERFURYERMAMAMAGRRRRRRRGOGO!” (I’ll shout at the horsies).

BUT WAIT JUST A MOMENT! HOLD YER HORSIES!!

I am a 21st century Neanderthal-Farm-Chick. I close my eyes, breathing deeply through my nose. A moment of meditation. I gather myself. I do a downward dog. I see an upside down D.O.G. Time to make a run for it.

But first I must dress the part. Carhartt – Muck Boot chic. And instead of painting my face, I pack my camera bag. Then I am ready to go run and shout and chase ponies and horses and snowflakes.

I’ll yell at the top of my lungs…”BLAAAAH! BLAAAH-BLAH-BLAH-BLAAAH!!!” (not very original…and the horsies are onto me)

So I wave my arms and shake an empty feed bag…”BLAAAH!”

My pec muscles are aching the next day.

Shall we get on to some favorite snowy farm photos?

BLAAAAH!!!!

The first January snow was a light one. Somewhat windy…but that makes it even more exciting for a soccer game.

Grayson was chomping at the ball…FG_109 copy

…practicing his moves…FG_060 copy

Star had never met a horse-soccer ball…much less played the game. (Does Gypsy look like a bored soccer mom?)
FG_070 copy

Grayson promised to teach Star…FG_065 copy

Pockets said…”OH MY GWAD…DA SAME DUM GWAY BALL…I WAAAH PUHPLE!!”FG_069 copy

Then suddenly Grayson kicked the ball and sent it flying..FG_071 copy

…or maybe it was Star who was flying!…FG_072 copy

So much so…he needed to get up close and personal…and sniff…FG_082 copy

…and lick…before the gray ball terror subsided…FG_092 copy

Grayson showed Star some moves…FG_103 copy

Then said, “YER TURN!”FG_104 copy

Star snickered…”Heck Yeah…Bite This…Pelé!”FG_105 copyAmbihooftrous…no less! Wowzer!FG_106 copy

It was halftime and I barged in. “Alright! Enough! Time for a family portrait!”FG_057 copy

It was a beautiful color-coordinated portrait…Olan Mills style…FG_029.2

…until Star could no longer help himself…or actually did help himself…to a sniff…
FG_027.2

NEXT SNOW???

Bad attitudes all the way around. Gypsy took it upon herself to lead the tribe around and around the round pen. Every which right way I was rounding…she rounded about the other wrong way…FG_028 copy

In a roundabout way…it was wrongful and ridiculous…FG_026 copyIt was clearly a conspiracy…FG_033 copy

…there was no getting around it…FG_020 copy

Finally Star approached me cautiously…while Gypsy held back.

BAD MANNERS!!!FG_052 copy

BAD PARENTING!FG_051 copy

Pockets was the only one to show remorse…or maybe those were just snowflakes stuck to her eyelashes…FG_038 copy

Whatever…I gave up.

Then the BIG KAHUNA came along. It was supposed to be a two foot mega-blizzard last weekend…but wimped out at barely twelve inches. I am very happy with wimpy snow. That very same wimpy snow is still glaring at me.

During the so-called blizzard…Pockets was briefly misidentified as a dirty snowflake…FG_049 copyI couldn’t help myself. I turned Neanderthal and whooped it up…FG_094 copyI may have had a little help…who dat?…Recluse Man?? Go Ahead!!! I’m ready…shake that bag!!!FG_045 copy

Poor Pockets…almost tummy-high in the snow…it was hard for her to keep up…FG_047 copy

…especially while Mama G’s silly boyfriend was showing off his fancy footwork!FG_040 copy

Around the pasture they ran…with Star in the lead…FG_061 copy

…until…”OH MY GWAD!” said Pockets…FG_065 copy“NOT DA BIG HILL!!”FG_066 copy

Pockets was as determined as any ponkey had ever been..FG_068 copy

It required enormous ponkey-will-power…FG_069 copy

Once up top…Pockets was very proud of herself…FG_073 copyBut then she made it clear..we needed to talk…FG_035 copy

“I WAAH WONGER WEGS!’ she said…FG_091-2Umm…ok…is that the end of the conversation?FG_003 copy

The next day when the sun popped…she was feeling better…nuttin’ finer than a snow beard to cheer a ponkey!FG_036 copyAnd it was then that I discovered what Pockets excels at in a snowy world…FG_018 copy

SNOW PLOWING!FG_017 copyHow about doing the driveway next… Pockets??FG_022 copy

Stay tuned for the next blizzard!

2015 … A YEAR IN PICTURES FROM THE FUNNY FARM

Sheesh…I am hiding in the barn…it’s taken me so freekin’ long to publish a post.

Yes.

It’s me. I’m back. The gone-forever girl.

Lotsa water under the bridge.

Lotsa poo shoveled.

Lotsa trying times.

Lotsa healing days.

Lotsa joy.

Lotsa horses.

Lotsa laughter and love with my tribe… and especially Recluse Man.

Dang. I could write a corny country song.

That was the end of 2015 in a nutshell. And now here it is already the second week of January.

While sweeping out the old and bringing in the new, I thought it might be a good thing to share some of my favorite funny farm photos from 2015. Little did I know how long it would take. In fact…I had to get a wrist brace to finish this post!

Holy Cow Patties…did I ever get carried away! I do believe I have Photoshop Tendonitis.

Before I begin with this indescribably hilarious and seemingly bottomless blog post…(OMG…how many photos and words did I include???)…let me announce our latest addition to the tribe…STAR!!!

That would be the very same Star-Trek-Wars-damn-horse I tried to load on the trailer for 24 days…then finally walked here…2.2 miles in 45 minutes..smooth and easy.

After a short trial period with Star and Gyps and the Pips…about one week before Christmas…my crazy boyfriend…that Recluse Man who I love…told me he wanted to buy Star as a Christmas gift for me.

HAPPY HEART POUNDING WITH GLEE!! INDESCRIBABLE JOY BEYOND WORDS!!! That’s what I was feeling when Recluse Man asked me what I thought about the idea. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS!!

Welcome to the farm…you hot-blooded-red-headed stranger..STAR!

You’re mine all mine!Star-gift1 copy

Now for some favorite farm photos from 2015…

Let’s start with Freeka’s Funny Farm covered in snow…freekafarmsnow copy

Grayson and Pockets had arrived two days before Christmas 2014, when their Mama Elizabeth brought them to live on the farm. They were born into feral herds in June 2014, at Grayson Highlands State Park. Three months later, Elizabeth bought them at the annual pony auction. Six months after their birth…they joined my tribe.

OK…so one is a ponkey…(half pony – half donkey). Guess who?

(hint…the one hiding her ears…)Eliz & pips winterWhat the hay??? Gypsy had never seen such pip-squeaks before! Could it be???? Gyps & the Pips??? Move over Gladys Knight!!!G&P's at barnSuch short legs running in the snow!
G & Pips running in snow
Gypsy wondered if she was ready to be a soccer mom…
soccer momWill they ever grow?
soccer mom copyShe thought…they were so funny looking…Pockets in stallBut with such a sense of humor! Why Gypsy was a smash at motherhood!Grayson_Gypsy laughing

Then one February day, a pot bellied pig named D.O.G. arrived…mighty_swine copyHis human, Tommy, had been looking for a good home for him…
DOG Tommy
 A little peanut butter bribery on a stick, and D.O.G. discovered his new home in our abandoned chicken coop…DOG_arrival copy

No doubt…D.O.G. wondered where he had landed…is this the moon?DOG_PeakI was so tickled to have a pig.

I mean he WAGGED HIS TAIL AT ME…the very FIRST MORNING!!!!

I GUSHED and SWOONED!!!! (while he chomped and smiled)breakfast_smile copy

On the second morning, after the weather got very cold, D.O.G. figured out where Recluse-Banana Man lives…2valentine (1) copy

Recluse-Banana Man is way more fun than those mean ponies and yapping dogs…Pig & poniesThey were so up close and personal…Pocket pig butt

D.O.G. decided ‘Running with the Pips’ wasn’t for him…pips & piggy

After that…the pigster free-range grazed until I worried he’d become bigger than our house…house_pig copyD.O.G. considered going on a diet…(very briefly)…in order to fit through the dog door…dog_door copyMeanwhile…winter was still wagging around…3 dogs in snow

I’ve always loved that late-winter day when the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks finally arrive…grosebeak1 copygrosebeak2 copy

Elizabeth and I did silly things and made lots of photos…mamaE2 copy

We found out Grayson does not like to wear hats or jewelry…but will gladly nibble on any-damn-thing…don’t ask me about Mama E’s taste in hairdos…
mamaE copy

Pockets? Why she just LUUUVS to dress-up!hollywood copy

Our Starlet!party_ponkey_border

 It was the Pips first winter!snowy2“Who cares?”…said the pig! I’m running away from home…traveler copySing it Toots!toots1 copy

toots3 copy

No matter what season…Blue pursued his favorite pastime…POTD_15_11_13_Blue copy…while I found the secret to giving D.O.G. a successful pedicure…sake copy

 When the warm weather returned, Recluse Man did some spring cleaning. Much to Lily’s disgust…he tossed the TrAshe county porch couches!!! WTCOUCH???TrAshe couches copyIn between repairing fences, Recluse Man discussed the merits of having white hair…with his favorite hairy-white friend Pockets…white hair copyAs a result…she felt uplifted!!!upper7 copyAfter all…she’s a honkey-fonkey-furry-white-ponkey!!!upper8 copyPockets…”OH MY GWAD…It’s tough hangin’ wif a fwend like Gwayson…”phat1 copyphat3 copyphat5 copyphat7 copy

Hey let’s not forget how cute the pigster is…all posing in front of the rhododendron…he is…rhodo copyBy early spring, Elizabeth and I were walking Gyps and the Pips to the river and around the neighborhood. The Pips were learning about halters and lead ropes and voice commands…(theoretically)walk4 copySpring on the farm!!!freekafarm_spring copySpring is for the birds!! It was my first year putting suet out through the winter and beyond…suet copySuch payoffs! (ok…so I’ve never had a grackle at a feeder before)FG_047 copyJesse-Linguini was nearly fully recovered from her ACL surgery by spring, and was ready to run and play outside…ya think?

Jess…”gimme one more dang dog toy and Ima rip out yer persnal sqweeker…5 sekunds or less”)FG_004_1 copyThen…Pockets saw her first rainbow…rainbow1 copy…and fainted…rainbow3 copy…what a drama queen…rainbow4 copyElizabeth comes out every chance she gets…pony dreams copy …while Recluse Man and I try to find a little time to ourselves…serenade copy…but there’s always competition…and serenading in the background…HA!serenade2 copyThen when we finally GO somewhere…NRSP1 copy… it FREEKIN’ rains!!!NRSP10 copyWho cares??? We’ll make the most of it!NRSP7 copyBack on the farm…while I was tending to daily chores… mud legs copyRecluse Man was singing in the shower…and that would be the Minny Whinny shower!

If I recall, he was singing…”Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain…” …oh go SPLISH SPLASH..will ya?!
tripping in shower 2 copyWhat the heck you doin’ there Recluse Man???? Quite the psychedelic landscape…are you on the Magic Bus?
trippin in shower.1 copy

D.O.G. enjoyed hanging out on our porch and gave up on the chicken coop sometime during late spring. He was fine with going up three steps to get to the porch…but he made it perfectly clear he did not like going back down the steps. It required serious bribery.

As experts…we found tortilla Pringles worked the best…date night copy

Then we set up a ramp. It was an instant success with at least two of the d.o.g.s…FG_317 copy

Dog Day Afternoon…but where’s the D.O.G.? Did he really go down the ramp????doormats copy

Tommy showed up one hot summer day and shortly after we decided I would become D.O.G.’s permanent human. Hot diggity D.O.G.!!!Tommy b.day copy

Nuttin’ like having a watermelon-eatin’ partner who doesn’t spit seeds…waterm4 copy

I hope we don’t start looking like each other…like dog owners so often do…waterm1 copy

The pigster loves it when spa day rolls around…dogdays5 copy

He gets a pedicure…a facial…a tusk cleaning…and…WATERMELON!!!…pig_spa copy

It didn’t take long to realize…if the pigster’s nails aren’t polished…he develops a shoe fetish…shoes2 copy

We love a reason to throw a good party around here…bday2 copy

When the Pips turned one…bday1 copy

…we made the most of it…party animals copy

…until Pockets got schnockered on molasses and we had to cut her off…bday4 copy

Then Fourth of July…star-spangled copy

I had one hat to share…star-spangle-3 copy….well maybe two…party-poop2 copy

Go Toots!…the others skedaddled when they heard fireworks in the distance…something to be said about ‘hard of hearing’…how I know…right Toots?

RIGHT TOOTS?dorky hat copySUMMER…my first, second, third…favorite season…

When I go to war with the watercress…POTD_9_24_15_3 copy

…and I think I’m winning…but not…FG_131_1 copy(Let’s check in with Blue again…ok…still the same.)POTD_15_11_13_Blue copy

When summer rolls around, we buy new Koi from a local high school FFA program. That’s after the freekin’ great blue herons and raccoons and kingfishers have feasted to the point of heartbreak and tears through the previous seasons.

The release of a new generation brings joy and anticipation. Yet often, we don’t see them for up to a full year after their release in our pond. Fortunately, we picked out some exhibitionists this time around…

…good luck amigos…FG_038 copy…listen to your elders..homies copy…and follow your bliss…(before the barracudas show up…)
FG_052-1 copy

Back to summer….

Did I mention Recluse Man’s summertime pizzas??? LOADED with love…and olives…and herbs and peppers and cheese…fresh from the garden and markets…FG_048 copyThe pigster was caught stalking…like ….’every breath you take…every move you make…Ima watchin’ you’…PIZZA…REALLY????watching you copy

Occasionally the pigster would go AWOL. I freaked when he did this the first two times…but then realized it was a simple search and rescue to bring him home.

 I am…after all…D.O.G.’s…The Bounty Hunter…with CHEERIOS!!!!dogfetch11 copy Ah Ha!!! Got him!dogfetch7 copyMeanwhile…Lily greeted every visitor to the farm…FG_103 copy…and experimented with mud packs…FG_061 copy

…while the other d.o.g.s laughed…or napped at the thought of such ambition…FG_009 copy“Hey Toots…those ain’t marshmallows …ok girl?”FG_318 copyWho Cares???? Look what Recluse Man got….
Shadow1 copy

Lookin’ good biker dude…it’s a Honda Shadow for croooooosin’!!FG_020 copy

Summer is wonderful. After weedwacking and sweating and mowing for hours…I pretend I’m livin’ the life. Coconut bras and pineapple drinks galore…(oops…did I order the wrong size coco’s?)coconuts copy

And then I started blogging…and life changed…croc1 copy

I found myself sharing thoughtful, retrospective, deep-delving glimpses and realizations…even while revisitng my boarding school of years past…POTD_15_11_08_St_Marys_5 copy

…I found myself sharing the kind of urban chick I used to be…when I had a studio and lived five minutes from town…Fred pitchfork

I found myself chomping on the reins to share every little ride…POTD_15_10_27_FG copy

ENOUGH!!! TIME OUT!!!POTD_15_11_27_Black_Friday copyDoes anyone need a TV or couch? ….

OK. Back to work…it’s hay season!! (wtf???…are those Pips loose?)RM_hayloft3 copy

Is this Meals on Wheels?POTD_15_11_04_4 copySomehow I got talked into pullin’ and stackin’ bales…
RM_hayloft2 copy

It’s a primitive and itchy job…FG_149 copy

…that requires some airing out…FG_065 copy…and a good farm hand on hand…FG_048 copyMeanwhile…during hay season…Pockets discovered she lives in a gated community!!!gated ponkey copy…yet not far away is an authentic outhouse!!!!

(Oh My GWAD…people poop! lemme outta here!!!)FG_152 copyBlue continued to pursue his favorite pastime…POTD_15_11_13_Blue copy…as did his bgf…Moondust…FG_007-3 copyThe hummers were a daily sideshow…I made hundreds of hummer photos…FG_475_1 copy…and braved the rain (from under the deck roof)… FG_010_1 copyI was not alone in my fascination…FG1_0085 copy

Moondust had arisen…FG1_0080 copy…while the Pips practiced their two-step…dance1 copydance2 copydance3 copy…and the pigster turned rasta…DOG_dreads copy

Then Halloween rolled around…POTD_15_10_30_Halloween6 copy

…or is that Elizabeth rolling around???POTD_15_10_30_Halloween5 copyPockets finally met ‘the Great Ponkin’…(dang…that hat gets around)…POTD_15_11_01_ponkins_III_07 copy

…then chomped The Great Ponkin’s offspring…POTD_15_11_01_ponkins_III_10 copy…while D.O.G. dressed as Wilbur…POTD_15_11_02_2 copy“Trick or Treat???”…the pigster asked…trick or treat 2“TRICK OR TREAT…LET ME IN OR I’LL BLOW THE DANG DOG DOOR IN!”POTD_15_11_02_6 copy

Waza matter pigster….been chompin’ too many treats…’eh???POTD_15_11_02_7 copyAhhh…the beauty of autumn…when the Pips run wild…(or just stand and chomp)…POTD_10_08_15_AWOL1 copy…an occasional walk is good…POTD_15_10_14_Ponkey Express copyNext thing ya know it’s snowing…wait…that’s not snow…ah hem…Lily…oh LILY???bday3 copy“It gets so cold outside….paleeze let us in????” (use the dang dog door dummies!)bday2 copy

Holiday season is on…POTD_15_12_01_muckboots_1 copy

…and Elizabeth seemed to love her new Muck Boots…FG_010_1 copy

…but I had to tell her to tuck in her pants…WTH girlie???FG_002 copy

…she got it…finally…FG_012_1 copy…meanwhile the pigster had moved inside..and tried to disguise himself among the spotty furniture…spots copyIt was pointless to try and hide with a sock monkey…indeed..catastrophic…FG_177 copy…it became a funny farm…’cativity scene’…FG_178 copyYet I was discouraged…trying to load Star to bring him to the farm…I knew…he knew…he wasn’t going to fit in my car…SB3 copyAfter days and days of working with him…I got him to load…FG_096 copy

…so long as no one was at the back gate…FG_020 copyFinally after 24 days of trying to transport Star in the trailer…I decided we’d trek 2.2 miles to my farm. What a Star-Trek…one mile of which was on a fast two lane highway…this part had me freeked….until we had a perfect practice walk…FG_058 copyI was never happier to get him on the farm in one piece…made it copy….then we all fell to pieces over his dance steps…FG_153 copy

…even Grayson…the little man…FG_128 copy

Star had never met a critter so poised and confident…and wanting to smell his butt…as Pockets…FG_242 copyLet’s get on with Christmas!FG_074 copyToo bad Mama E had to leave for her hometown of New Orleans…FG_134 copy…but of course Santa would watch over her Pips…good hands copy…when he wasn’t posing…naughtyRM2 copy…or caught in the act….(What the heck…Santa…that’s my barn door!!!)naughty santa copyI quickly forgave Santa when he gave me a horse of my own for Christmas…dream come true copy…dats right you red-headed beauty…you are part of the tribe now!!!hohoho2 copy…shall we belly-bump Santa?bellybump1 copyPockets was not amused…there was nothing in HER stocking…”WAAAAAH?”stocking1 copy…dang…even the rasta pigster who doesn’t celebrate holidays that feature ham on the table…pig xmas 1 copy

…got something!!!pig xmas2 copy…as Linguini says…”it’s all in your attitude…”FG_031 copy…and with that…I believe the year closed on a good note…let’s ask Grayson…pig_nose copy..better yet…lemme hug on Santa…Star gift2 copyStay tuned for more zaniness from the funny farm in 2016…FG_083 copyFG_085 copyFG_087 copyBe back soon…ya hear?

PHOTO OF THE DAY – BLACK FRIDAY – November 27, 2015

I am NOT a Black Friday shopper. In fact, I will go to great lengths to stay away from crowds of frenzied shoppers.

Today for example, I needed to buy some rope at the hardware store for that darn horse I’ve been trying to load. I took the back roads to Tennessee.

And dang if I didn’t find THE BEST Black Friday Special in all of Johnson County, Tennessee.

No lines. No sales tax. No hassles. Just come and get it….POTD_15_11_27_Black_FridayRecluse Man said, “If we don’t get the horse tomorrow…we’ll get the TV.”

I can’t wait til tomorrow.

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