After 10 days of working with Star, and getting him over his fears and green-colt anxieties about loading in a trailer, we had the best day yet.

Thank you Goddess of Patience! Thank you Blocker Tie Rings! Thank you Janice for leaving your trailer!

Not only did Star load, he stayed. He sniffed. He stuck his head out the side door. He nibbled. He leaned into my fingers at his favorite scratch spots and batted his eyes. He turned his head this way and that. He backed out a few steps, then came forward. Then he stayed again…for awhile.

And then he asked… “Hay girl…where’s the TV?”

I was so happy with this headway (wimpy pun), I promised we’d watch the next Panthers game together.

It was the same feeling I had at age 14, when I won four blue ribbons and then grand champion, in a horse show at summer camp. It was hard work and team effort then, and no less so today. With the same huge feeling of accomplishment.

And trust. Gotta have trust.

Check out the Star-dude…in Photos of the Day…POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_1

Head out da door…four on da floor…


“You coming?”POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_3

“Where’s the TV?”POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_4

“Love my little apartment…where are my slippers?”POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_5

“So when are we going?”

Lookin’ like Turkey Day…you hot-red-headed-turkey-you.

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – STAR DAZED – November 23, 2015

I haven’t posted Photos of the Day in two entire days.

I had my reasons. I think one was valid…the rest a bunch of poo.

Honestly, I think I needed a break. But the scary thing? I immediately got used to it.

Makes me wonder if I should take weekends off. But that’s when things happen!

For example…Saturday I had Recluse Man help me with Star. I really believed the day had come when that stubborn mule would load and go. Like an ‘IN-N-OUT’ Burger.

He went in OK. And he came out OK… breaking two lead ropes, and ruining a new halter along the way.

Booger-Burger. GIT-BACK-IN-BURGER.

I got him loaded again…after much coaxing…then called it quits. Always great to end on a good note.

Sunday was dismal. The coldest day so far this winter, with a bitter-stiff breeze. I had Recluse Man and a helper who is good with horses, and yet we still regressed.

Star wouldn’t even load. Not used to guys hanging out….trying new techniques…and probably gazing into my eyes… watching me wanting to turn the Panthers game on…we called it quits. Again. With no progress made.

Saturday I wasn’t able to post a POTD because I couldn’t access my FFF blog site. I took a nap at 8pm and didn’t wake up until 1am. Site was up, I wrote a post, went back to bed, woke up, and thought..HOW STUPID IS THAT? I should never have accessed.

Sunday I wasn’t able to post a POTD because I was accessing so much great football. Double Header!…Panthers then the Packers…my favorite two teams…WON!

I was very happy.  Then later on, I found myself easily entertained with some really great excuses for not posting.

And then it was the late game!!!

Are you ready for some more and more and more FOOTBALL???


Lately, beyond football, I’ve been watching too much news and having nightmares about terrorist attacks. There are snipers and suicide bombers and feelings of deep fear inside my head. I wake up…then fall asleep to the next nightmare.

2nd nightmare…I’m trying to walk Star to my farm…1.2 miles along the highway. There are trucks roaring by, loaded with Christmas trees and lumber, that backfire when there is no shoulder on the road and nowhere to escape.

They are equally scary nightmares.

Then I’m shivering…and realize Recluse Man has rolled all the covers around himself, just like D.O.G. wrapped in his pig blankets. I grunt. He grunts. (I mean Recluse Man). I steal back the covers.

Now back to Star. We had a really good day today. I needed to hit ‘rewind’ on our training sessions and start with some easy tying. Forget the trailer. I had worked with tying him last winter and he did great, but there was no trailer in sight.

I thought he’d freak over any kind of tying at this point, but again, he surprised me.

Don’t forget this is a very green horse.

I bought two Blocker Tie Rings after watching videos, and seeing how much sense they made. The lead line is wrapped inside the tie ring so there is some play in the line when a horse pulls back forcefully. The amount of play is adjustable.

Once there is some give in the line, the horse will ease off on the crazy pulling. Horses are prey animals who hate restraint. Especially when separated from their herd. But when the restraint need to pull!

I was amazed by how quickly Star calmed after having a mini-freak-out. There was nothing to break. Nothing to fight. Nothing to bring him down…or up. In fact, he ended up with just a little longer line…(which I quickly shortened as soon as he moseyed closer).

Go Star! Go Blocker Tie Rings! GO INTO THE DAMN TRAILER!!!

At this rate…I will be happy to get that mule here for Turkey Day. I will STUFF HIM GOOD… RIGHT INTO THE TRAILER.

Here are some Photos of the Day. I do believe I will put an album together after that horse finally gets here…ya know…for his grandkids.

That Blocker Tie Ring has him….Star-Dazed….POTD_15_11_23_Star_daze_1

…putting a broken lead rope to good use…”Say Yuum??? Star?”FG_209_1 copy

We eventually got brave enough to tie on to the trailer..with great success…FG_224_1 copy

…for us at least…FG_223_1 copy

“What can I say or do to get you loaded…Dude?”FG_071 copy

To be continued.



PHOTOS OF THE DAY – STAR TREKS – November 20, 2015

Star Treks; definition

To Boldly Go Where No Horse Has Gone Before…

I’m tellin’ ya…I am wiped out from being a Star Treks groupie.

That horse! We have logged some miles this week.

Once Star and I trekked down together this morning, we had a good, short session. He loaded immediately in the trailer, and then over and over again…so long as there was a grain bucket waiting in the bowels of that cave from hell.

Attitudes flared when there was no food in sight. I decided to end on a good note and return for a different sort of afternoon session, with Recluse Man’s help.

After trekking up first thing this morning to get Star, he and I Star Trekked back down and through the creek, as we passed all kinds of ghosts in the wind and monsters in the creek. After our first session, I decided to leave Star in the lower paddock until session number two. No more Star Trekking! I chained the fence, figuring I’d return in a couple of hours.

I did.

And dang if that horse hadn’t Star Trekked right over the fence and on to higher grounds.

Just as I pulled up, I caught sight of him leading the troops around the very last and highest bend in sight. When I shouted out, he looked my way with his ears pricked, then did a quick 180º (my heart skipped a beat), then did any even faster 180º (my heart thudded), and continued to lead his troops…up.

No doubt with a smirk on his green lips.

Feckin’ trekkin’!!!

Then Recluse Man texted to say he’d be home after dark.

I was bummed. I had really hoped to move Star tomorrow, but I think we need at least one more session before he’ll quietly and fully load.

For Photos of the Day…a look at what Star Treks are all about…POTD_15_11_20_1

I was thinking…hmmm…not high enough to drive…I’ll just do the Star Trek…POTD_15_11_20_2

He made me trek alright…POTD_15_11_20_3

It started out as a quiet descent…we were singing…’Trekking…like the doo-da man…’POTD_15_11_20_4

Peace and Love…from a Star Trekking groupie…POTD_15_11_20_5

…then…Star Trekker snorted…”YIKES!!!…MUST STOP! ..there’s a ghost-dog way up top…”POTD_15_11_20_6

…then later I snorted…”No dude…the Star Trek does not end here…”

We were finally trekking nice and easy through the creek…POTD_15_11_20_8

But on the way out?POTD_15_11_20_8


Star Trekker… “I saw a SHARK…I know I DID!!!”POTD_15_11_20_10

Me…”That was a minnow silly boy…”POTD_15_11_20_11

Check out the Star Trekker stride!!POTD_15_11_20_12

After our session…we parted in peace.

(notice the fence separating Star from his friends and a beckoning trek)POTD_15_11_20_13

They were so far away when I returned, even when I threatened by screaming…


…it seemed Highly Illogical.





Today was Day Four of Star’s trailer loading training.

On Day Three, Star put his two front legs inside the trailer, while his hind two stayed firm on the ramp. It didn’t last long, but it was a huge improvement over the previous session. So long as there is forward motion with each session, I find I can muster a whole lotta patience. The pay-off is so worth it.

For your Photos of the Day…I never thought a set of horse legs could look so gratifying…or make me so happy.

May I present …FOUR ON THE FLOOR!!! POTD_15_11_19_4_on_floor_1I even had witnesses, although they were busy looking for crumbs from my secret bribery technique…POTD_15_11_19_4_on_floor_2Then suddenly eight more legs loaded!!!POTD_15_11_19_4_on_floor_3There is much more to this story but alas…it’s late…and Thursday Night Football has begun.

Let me part with this sweet photo from the StarBuck farm. It was a nice diversion in the middle of teaching a stubborn mule to load…POTD_15_11_19_4_on_the_floor

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.

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 – 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)


Some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had, were during the two and a half years I delivered Meals on Wheels in Boone, NC. Although we were not supposed to dilly dally around or talk too much when we were doing our routes, I grew very fond of some of my folks.

During holidays when the kitchen was closed, I would surprise them with treats from the bakery. I mean really good treats. It was then that I could go at my own pace and sit down with my favorite peeps to share their wisdom and life stories.

I knew many of these elderlies depended on Meals on Wheels to receive one hot meal a day, even if they grumbled about the menu. Others would joke about the food and set it aside for ‘whenever’. Boy oh boy did those meals stink up my car. I never saw anyone so ravenous they’d tear right into their lunch.

Today I had a little déjà vu experience as Recluse Man and I moved truckloads of hay onto the farm. On our last load, we took a break and lookee who showed up for Meals on Wheels!!! I must say they had a no holds barred approach to lunch…those rascals.

For Photos of the Day…here are my latest Meals on Wheels recipients…POTD_15_11_04_1

They never complained about the menu…POTD_15_11_04_2

Nor did they want to make small talk or set their lunch aside…POTD_15_11_04_3

They didn’t even ask for dessert!POTD_15_11_04_4Bon Appétit you little Pips!