PHOTO OF THE DAY – CLIFFHANGER – September 20, 2015

This photo has been around. It’s in this blog, it’s on my FB page…I even sent it out with Christmas cards last year. It happened exactly one year ago today. You may think it’s just a wacky photo, but it’s really an amazing split second in time.

It is so amazing, I have chosen to share this version from my private diary…something I never dreamed I would do.

Presenting … Photo of the Day …. CLIFFHANGER…dear diary2

Please note…I set my camera on a rock in order to make some healthy-looking, family-style, self portraits. I have so few of those. I positioned Recluse Man and told him I’d start the timer, then run in the photo, then he should wrap his lovin’ arms around me and smile.

Well I jumped in the photo and there was NO EARTH UNDERNEATH ME! I SCREAMED for RECLUSE MAN to HOLD ON TO ME TIGHT!! He SCREAMED TOO. That made me SCREAM EVEN MORE!!!

While we were SCREAMING, my Nikon made this photo right then and there, just as I thought I was GOING TO DIE.


omg. i did. we’re good. it was amazing.

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 – BIG YELLOW MATER – September 18, 2015

I have a thing for big, fat, weird tomatoes…the kind you can only find at a good farmers’ market. They jump out at me, calling my name….”freeeeeekaaaaaa…take me home with youuuuuu…shooooooot meeee…eeeat meeee….paleeeeeeezzzzzzzze.”

Sometimes they’re just so ugly…I mean really, really ugly…I gotta save ’em. Sometimes they’re just so gigundus-humungous…I know if I don’t take ’em home, I won’t believe myself the next day. Other times, they’re just so kinky, I am beside myself. Anatomical protrusions…like…tomato weenies…bellybuttons…nipples…butts and such…right there for the squeezing. Do other people blush at farmers’ markets? Are you out there?

Back in my own farmers’ market vendor days, my friends were famous for giving me porno maters. They’d track me down and be so proud to gift me with their kinky ole mater. Of course I never let them go to waste. Unh Unh. Whether I photographed them or not, they ended up under the knife. That’s right Lorena Bobbitt…move over.

Today’s PHOTO OF THE DAY is not kinky. (How did I get on that anyway?) It is simply the biggest, most voluptuous and curvaceous, yellow tomato I’ve ever seen…giving herself a hug. I found her last Saturday at the market and brought her home gently, in two hands. I set her on a bed of fresh garden basil, and gave her a marigold to hug. Then I made her portrait. In my humble opinion, she was one of the most well-rounded, happiest maters I’ve ever met….FG_031_POTD4

Here’s what she looked like alone in a hug…FG_007…but I gave her lots to hug…FG_026She was a tomato to remember for all time, from top to bottom…FG_035_B…start to finish…WhataMater…FG_43Should you be wondering about her weight…she was a solid two-pounder. I also met the winner of ‘the biggest tomato’ contest…check him out at 2.965 pounds…FG_021_1 I told his owner to stuff him. Tomatoes wearing boxer gloves scare me.

TGIF y’all

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

Fred-Locks…or…Recluse Man Gets a Haircut

Recluse Man finally had a day off and I had plans to alter his reclusive ways. It was a Saturday and I wanted to visit the Watauga County Farmers’ Market, and do some non-reclusive things. Either that…or assign him some very reclusive projects. Poor dude…with choices like that.

Recluse Man decided to go social. I took that thoughtfully…realizing I am better company than a weed-wacker. Love abounds.

I dragged him off to the Watauga Conty Farmers’ Market, in the boomingly little-big town of Boone, NC. To the dismay of many locals, Boone was recently ranked 10th by Outside Magazine, as a great small town to live in…sshhhh…don’t spread the word. I used to sell my photo creations at the market, but had not been back in three years.

I photographed Recluse Man at the market…for posterity or immortality…or just to bother him. We had a great time visiting some of my former co-vendors and (not-so-former) friends … we bought some veggies and gluten-free baked delights that were sooo good…then we had lunch in town. We filled up on gas…flipped the bird to backed up traffic and shouted a few obscenities, (or I did). It was the perfect date. We were stuffed and worn out… and…well….starting to feel reclusive as we drove home to our farm. What a date!

My nephew is gagging…I can hear him…. ‘that’s a date??!!’ (He’s a juvenile delinquent….or used to be).

When we got home, I dowloaded the market photos and realized what a middle-aged-werewolf my darling Recluse Man appeared to be. Maybe not so much in this photo…FG_016 copy

…. but fluffed? … back on the farm? Holy Cannolis!!!!….no wonder the healthy vegetarian crowd at the market gave him extra room…he looked like a raw-meat-eater-werewolf!!!FG_042_1 copy

It kinda turned me on…my vegetarian man. Especially when he snarled. Oh…my sexy, snarly werewolf. He was UTD on his rabies…I felt sure…FG_040_1 copyBy now, you’ve noticed the towel around his neck and his charming personality, and his total cooperation…ready for a haircut.

You know it’s true love when your BF trusts ya enough to cut his hair…HA HA HA!!!

But lookee here!!!!!FG_048_1 copyOK…so maybe he was wanting a ‘Trump-doo??’….with waves and push-backs and swirls?…FG_055_1 copyI reminded him we are radical-left-wing-hippies…with investment folders full of animals…not real estate…he came around…FG_044_1 copyI just melt over that smile…and how ’bout dat doo???FG_054_1 copySo all of these sugary smiles and success at hair-cutting made me think….I could go into biz as a farm-chick-hair-choppin’-girl-gone wild???FG_110_1I will call the biz … ‘Fred-Locks’….FG_097_1 copy…and I will create a following called ‘Fred-Heads’…FG_101 copy…and I will greet each morning… looking forward to Fred-Head-on-encounters.

OMG…let me practise on Pocket’s chinny-chin-chin first.


Tom Brady has nothing on my tribe when it comes to deflate-gate. After Freeka’s Funny Farm experienced its own deflate-gate, I know first hand. I was the interrogator, and lemme tell ya, my interrogatees were way slicker than any four time Super Bowl champ.

It all started last winter when I got the Pips an amazing Stacy Westfall purple pony ball with a durable, protective cover, designed to give many months and even years of entertainment. Elizabeth and I were brimming with excitement when we introduced the ball to the Pips. We taught them the rules of soccer and had a few pick-up games and it was great fun and a good way to warm up in the winter.

The Pips were fiercely competitive…FG_207-2…Pockets liked to chomp and run the ball…
…she had some weird defensive moves…FG_216-4…and she let us know when it was a bad call…FG_213-4…and played dead when she didn’t get her way…FG_200-4Poor Grayson couldn’t take all the drama.

(weren’t they just the cutiest patooties at seven months old?)

I think we made it through one month before deflate-gate occurred. Ironically, it was right around Super Bowl. My Linguini-dog looked awfully guilty. But so did a Pip or two. Or was it Gypsy? I interrogated everybody who had been in contact with the purple ball, but of course they all denied any wrongdoing. Very coincidentally and shortly after, they all destroyed their smart phones. I was never able to get a confession or any hard proof.

“Oh My Gwad,” said Pockets … “Wadawegondoo?” She was not the main suspect and I felt her pain…missing that purple ball and all. We tried a few patching techniques but nothing held. The purple ball was folded up and lowered in rank on the ‘to doo’ list, as Pockets calls it.

Then one day Mama E showed up with a new gray ball! I had my doubts it would last through one game. But like Elizabeth said, “So what if it pops, it was cheap! We’ll get another.” And another and another? Could we get prettier colors? Boy, I’m starting to sound like Pockets. There would be no interrogating if this one deflated. It would be death from natural and purposeful causes.

We introduced the new ball and set the rules. Each face-plant counted as one point. Simple as that. No goal lines. No yard lines. Just face-plants. Elizabeth and I would ref the game, and document it for the benefit of modern equine science. I just made that up….but I like the idea.

Off we go….

Grayson immediately gave the ball some test chomps…FG_156-1Pockets was cautious, but wondered what ‘gray’ smelled like…FG_151-1          As Mama E documented…who’s that in the distance? Recluse Man mowing around the pond? For heavens sake…somebody’s gotta do it!FG_149-1“Follow me,” said Elizabeth….”Let the game begin!”FG_161 copy“Harumph,” said Pockets … (have you ever heard a ponkey say ‘harumph?’…. it’s quite funny)FG_165 copyGrayson wanted to encourage his beloved ponkey, but teased her instead…using that gwadawful ‘half-ass’ name…just knowing it would put her nickers in a knot…       FG_167     Mama E reviewed the rules…FG_173 copy            When Pockets deferred, it became Team Grayson’s ball… FG_175 copyHe didn’t waste anytime!FG_168 copy NICE MOVES GRAYSON!FG_169 copy What the heck is the ponkey looking at???FG_223 copyWho cares? Look at that Pelé move!!!FG_222 copy IS HE GONNA SCORE????FG_224 copyYES!!!!!!!!!FG_226 copy IT’S A FACE-PLANT!!!!!!FG_225 copyTEAM GRAYSON 1…TEAM POCKETS 0!!!FG_227 copy FG_230 copyOK! You can stop rolling on the ball now!FG_228 copyDO NOT POP IT …YOU SHOWOFF!!!!FG_232 copyIt’s Team Pockets ball now…Woot Woot!  FG_181 copyGO POCKETS!FG_182 copysay waaaaah?FG_183 copyFOUL!!!! NO BACK-KICKING!!!FG_184 copyHAY!!!! GIT BACK HERE!!!FG_186 copyTeam Pockets was out of control, running madly around the playing field…FG_209 copyIs Recluse Man still mowing??? Poor dude.FG_210 copyPockets finally settled down, then sulked in the weed patch…FG_189 copyIt was time for an intervention…. FG_193-1Elizabeth thinks she’s gained back some respect…FG_194 copyYeah right… run to mommy…you wonkey ponkey…FG_195 copyBack to the game…FG_242 copyGrayson makes it clear…this is his ball…FG_243 copy…and again, wastes no time…FG_255 copy..and it’s another FACE-PLANT FOR GRAYSON!!!FG_257 copy…he is slow to recover…or is he eating grass?FG_258 copy..or maybe he wanted to show Team Pockets how to do it!!!FG_269 copyTEAM GRAYSON 2…TEAM POCKETS 0!FG_358 copyGrayson runs a victory lap…grass still in his mouth!FG_361 copyLET’S GO AGAIN!!!FG_316 copy
Notice the competition… far left…showing utter contempt for the gray ball…FG_283 copyWHOA!!! SWEET MOVES!!!FG_307 copyFG_309 copyWHAT’S THIS??? ANOTHER FACE-PLANT!!!!

(ok…you can stop eating now)
FG_302 copyPockets goes over to congratulate her opponent…(thanks Eliz for the greeeaaaat photo)DSC_1064_111-001 copySuddenly Gypsy decides to put a spark in her little ponkey…(another good one by Elizabeth!)DSC_1092_139-001 (1) copyUp and down the field they go…that is, Grayson and Gypsy…Pockets decided to stay downfield…FG_218 copyIt was becoming quite clear…Pockets did not like the gray ball…no wonder…her color is PURPLE!FG_190-2 copyI can hear her now …”I WAAAAAAH MY PUURRRPLE BALL!!!”FG_212 copyEven Mama E couldn’t get her to play…FG_389 copyFG_190-2 copyMeanwhile…Grayson was having a gray BALL!!!! FG_354 copyHe was balling with joy!!!FG_367 copy…for the whole world to see! (dang…if I have to look at RM mowing one more time!)FG_386 copyAND WHAT’S THIS???? FACE-PLANT #4!!!FG_225-1 copyTEAM GRAYSON 4 … TEAM POCKETS 0

The bell rings and it’s the….


LOOK AT THAT HAPPY PONY!!!!FG_372But JUST A MINUTE!!!! Team Pockets wants a rematch… with…you got it…a PURPLE BALL!!! (thanks Mama E for a great closing photo!)DSC_1016_63-001 copySTAY TUNED FOR THE REMATCH!!!!!