Archive of ‘Recluse Man’ category

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

THE PIPS TURNED TWO…AND WHAT A WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY PARTY IT WAS!

Several days before I left for my bum-thumb-fated trip to Pennsylvania, we celebrated the Pip’s second birthday. It was sooo much fun! We invited some neighborhood friends, and kids, and parents, and a very special grandma, to join us for the festivities.

I had every intention of posting some great photos when I returned from my Fourth of July trip. It’s just that my dumb-broken-thumb got in the way. But now? I see it as a way to relive a magical afternoon. Every time I think of that afternoon, it makes me smile.

There were so many delightful photos, I had a hard time choosing. What follows, reminds me of a family album. I gotta admit…I’ve gone dizzy looking at some family albums. To the point of asking where the bathroom is…then asking for a glass of water…then…”Oops…I’m out of time…gotta run.”

I can’t help but think this family album…our Freeka’s Funny Farm family album…ROCKS! After all, it’s only once in a lifetime our beloved Pips…Grayson and Pockets…turn two!

Party Down!!!party1

Elizabeth and I wanted to have fun. BIG FUN. BIG KIDS KINDA FUN.

I figured we needed entertainment. Somewhere out on one of my hiking trails…it hit me. (I love how my brain works on hiking trails.)

YES! We must do…Pin-the-Tail-on-the-PONKEY!

First I sought Recluse Michel-MAN-gelo’s talent. Yup. Got him outta bed early that day…

…took him down to the barn and gave him some chalk and introduced him to his model…party66

His creative juices started flowing…
party3

Pockets loved her modeling job…party4

…and that Recluse Michel-MAN-gelo…such talent!party5

Of course…there is no tail. Just you wait.party6

Let the party begin!!

That’s Toots greeting Jessica on the left, Nate, and mama Suzy…and a huge bag of carrots!party7

Dakota and Sabrina!party8Hittin’ up the treasure chest…party9Dakota and granny Allie… she’s my riding partner from down the road…she’s sixty-nine and kicks my butt on the trails with her little Paso Fino! Allie grew up with her Chincoteague pony who lived to be thirty five!party10I had a gut feeling the bunny ears wouldn’t last long on Pockets…party12…whad I tell ya…party13

The pink and purple girls…Suzanne and Pockets…party11I encouraged the kids to draw on the barn before we started Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Ponkey.

I’m not sure what kind of creature that is below. Yo…Sabrina!

I used to see monsters like that, hiding under my bed at night…party14Dakota in dreads…with the sun shining over her head…party16Let’s play Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Ponkey!!!

I braided ten tails from baling twine so peeps could keep their tails. This was not a big hit. I found tails everywhere after the party. Sigh. Pioneer Woman…I am not.

As everyone took turns, they were spun around once wearing a blindfold, then directed toward the barn door. Slap that tail on, remove the blindfold, have a good laugh (for me especially…and apparently Dakota), then initial with chalk.

Dakota went first…now that’s funny!party17

Next up…Jessica…party18Check her out! I love her Lost Unicorn shirt…party19

Sabrina…party20…you rock that tail girl!
party21

Nate…he’s a stellar football player with a soft spot for the Pips…party22Hmmm…that’s a tailback position!party23

And then it was my turn…I asked Jessica to turn me once…party24…I was lucky to find the barn door!party25You might say…I don’t know my ass from a barn door…party26

Then along comes smarty-pants Suzanne…party28…who could barely find the barn…party27…but was smart enough to locate the other tails…party29

THAT’S IT!

We took down the tails.

Nice try Mama E…are you pinning the tail on the patella?party30

Some of the adults were too grown-up to bother…in other words…they were drinking beer in the shade…party31Did I say…Grown-Up?party32We did get Allie…party33Tim..party34…and Suzy to pin that tail!party35

After the game, prizes were given to the kids. They were really special gifts Elizabeth had chosen from her horse collection…winner got first pick.

Sabrina and her mini-horse!party36There were books and cards and fun horsey things…including Elizabeth’s booklet about the Grayson Highlands ponies…party37See Elizabeth smiling her best ‘pony-girl’ grin…party36Meanwhile…the artistry continued. I was blown away by how cool the barn was looking!party37

Pockets inspected. “OH MY GWAD…MY BUTT IS A MESS!”
party39Now THAT is a  HAPPY barn door…party41The party was rockin’…party42…as the best carrot cake ever was served…party43But what about the horsies?party44I filled a trough with hay and had the troops sprinkle carrots on top…party45Suddenly there was an audience…Gypsy and Star!
party46They were most attentive…especially when the molasses appeared…party46That Star has a looong neck…party48I mean really loooong…party49We chased the barn gang out to the pasture and shut the gate. It was time for our great leaders to march in the birthday buffet!party50Next came Pockets and Grayson…with Grayson charming the girls as always…party51What a FEAST! (see the Elders patiently waiting in the pasture)party52Elizabeth and I took turns making birthday photos…while Grayson and Pockets munched down with total birthday abandon!party53…then finally the Elders were invited in…party54Here you see a bit of horse-heaven on earth…FG_364 copyDid I mention it was hot? So very hot in the mountains?party56It sure did seem like that fan followed Dave wherever he went……party57I know you are wondering if Recluse Man ever got that beer open…party58Well…he did…party59After our guests left…I couldn’t find Elizabeth…party60But Grayson found the beer…party61

It was a birthday party we will always remember…even the two-year-olds. Right Grayson?party63OH MY GWAD. Such a poser that Pockets!party64And that my friends…is the end of this chapter from our family album.party65How I love a good Tale of Tails!

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…♥♥

BLOOD, SWEAT & GEARS (Pockets Takes A Trip To The Vet)

OH MY GWAD!

Speaking for Pockets-the-Ponkey, I am sure she would have begun this post with that very same expletive. It’s her favorite line, and what inevitably follows, is some sort of drama.

It was a BIG day for Pockets last week…her first VISIT TO a VET!

A two hour journey down the mountain!

Pockets has been dealing with a leg condition called stifle-lock and Elizabeth was beside herself with worry. If anything, it had gotten worse over the winter.

Stifle lock, or ‘Upward Fixation of the Patella’ (UFP), is fairly common in horses and ponies. The stifle is the upper part of a back leg on a horse and consists of 3 bones: the tibia, femur, and patella. The tibia is like a person’s shin bone, the femur is similar to our thigh bone, and the patella serves as a knee cap connecting them. Stifle lock causes the back legs to pop, or sometimes lock and drag.

Grayson had stifle lock but outgrew it, as is often the case in a young pony or horse. Stifle lock doesn’t hurt a pony but it sure hurts looking at a leg that pops or drags. Elizabeth was coming out nearly everyday to work with Pockets. Exercise is great. And the whole Freeka herd has 24/7 access to the pasture or barn. Which is good. Very good to be mobile.

Sheesh. Somehow I ended up watching The Who in Hyde Park, instead of the news this morning. Much better way to start the day! Their 50th anniversary concert. And this is stuck in my head…

Keep me movin’
Over 50
Keep me groovin’
Just a hippie gypsy

Come on move now
Movin’
Keep me movin’, yeah

Keep me movin’, groovin’, groovin’, yeah
Movin’, Yeah
Mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile

Let’s dedicate that to Pockets. WHEW! I have finally cooled down after watching Roger Daltrey strutting his stuff. That man has no stifle lock whatsoever!

Back to Pockets going mobile.

Mama E and her ponkey discussed the day ahead. Elizabeth told Pockets Dr Meeker is an expert…and I hinted he is a cutie to boot. She would be in good hands.

Here is the P-Pip trying to say Dwoctahh Meekaaahh….Pockets to vet 1

We practiced trailer loading so many times, Pockets was a pro. So long was there was a little grain. (Check out Peak Mountain in this frame. That Mountain. Inspires Me. Every Day.)Pockets vet2

I lifted that darn trailer gate so many times with Star-boy and P-pip…I made the excuse I needed to document. My aching back!!! Such heroes…Recluse Man and Karen…Pockets vet3

I worship the ground they walk on…and the trailer doors they close!
fPockets vet4

Elizabeth was happy…Pockets…not so much…(read ear language)…Pockets to vet4

And check out the look! HEWP!!!! I AM BEING KWIDNAPPED!!!!Pockets to vet21

When we got to Davie County Large Animal Hospital, in Mocksville, NC, we had a little wait. No problem with that. The grounds and facilities make for a very comfortable visit…Pockets to vet5But Holy Patooties!!! Pockets saw the EQUINE AMBULANCE and declared she would not travel home unless it was in that very same ambulance…

Such a Rebel! Such a Drama Queen!Pockets to vet6

Listen here you ponkey…you are NOT Mariah Carey or Beyonce, or any kind of Diva…demanding special transport!!! (Snort…)Pockets to vet7I had to remind her…she didn’t exactly qualify as a ‘LARGE ANIMAL’…(Snorts Galore)…Pockets to vet12

Thank the Ponkey-Gwad…for Heidi…answering calls and greeting clients. Elizabeth had already declared her a great friend after spending loving-lingering-bragging moments on the phone making the appointment…Pockets to vet9Then…the big moment came when Dwoctahh Meekaaahh examined Pockets.

He said…

‘This is the Texas-Ponkey-Two-Step-Syndrome. The way she dances in place!?! Turn up some George Jones!’
Pockets to vet10(totally fooling…forgive me Dr Meeker…totally-totally fooling)

Time for a serious walk to check out Pocket’s moves. After all…she has never stepped two feet in Texas…Pockets to vet11

Mama E showed the good doctor a video. Of course Dr Meeker recognized the problem immediately. But wadda-mama-she-is…showing off her ponkey-kid…Pockets to vet13

It had been eight weeks since Pocket’s last date with our farrier. I had suggested waiting until after our vet-visit to learn the best way to trim her. Too bad the farrier at the clinic was totally booked that day.

I figured Dr Meeker could draw some sharpie lines on her hooves…Pockets to vet14But wait a minute…in a stroke of luck…Robert the farrier pulled up. Hay-lelujah!!!! Good to meet you dude! Just in time!!Pockets to vet15

But first Pockets needed sedation. She has no love for farriers and tends to rear up all high and mighty in defiance. At least as high as she can get. (maybe 4 more inches?)Pockets to vet16

Here comes the Blood…Pockets to vet17

The Sweat…(and dirt from rolling in thunderstorms)…Pockets to vet18

…and the Gears…churning in that ponkey head…Pockets to vet19

The cute-paleo farrier took over after that. He reminded me of a caveman…no business cards to share…no email…no FaceBook. He just said…”If you need me, they know how to find me here.” We were smitten. At least three out of four of us girls. Pockets not-so-much.

She was suspicious to say the least…the dude had scary tools and dangling ropes…and weird britches…Pockets to vet20

But in no time, Pockets was having sweet lil ponkey dreams…Pockets to vet22

Never mind the torture tools at her feet…Pockets to vet23

Pockets to vet26Pockets to vet25Pockets to vet24

In her dreams…Pockets asked Karen….”HOW HIGH DOES A CARROT FLY?”Pockets to vet27

“Way higher than your chinny chin chin,” Karen replied. Karen is so good at bedtime stories. Pockets was in a trance…imagining flying carrots…Pockets to vet28

Later on…Mama E and I agreed we might have a crush on our new vet and farrier…but an even BIGGER CRUSH on KAREN!!! For years shce has offered her Tucker Farm as a sanctuary for donkeys and goats in need of rescue. Now she can add ‘ponkey’ to her resume. Without hesitation, she offered to transport Pockets to the vet. Talk about great friends.

Karen…the ponkey-donkey-goat angel!!!Pockets to vet28Every angel needs a break. Plus angel-duty meant squatting in front of the fan…ahhh…felt so good. It was hot and sticky down down in the piedmont. My turn!!!Pockets to vet29“It’s your second sedation you rascally ponkey…let me tell you a story about the ponkey who fell down and never got up…you listening?” (I admit…I am not so good at bedtime stories).Pockets to vet30Elizabeth was enormously proud of her beloved Pockets…Pockets to vet31

Of course she documented the trim job for our local farrier to see. A half hour of action-packed drama. Soon to be released on Netflix. (not)Pockets to vet34

This is the final trim. How ’bout that!! Four on the floor…Pockets to vet32

However, the photo I couldn’t stop studying, shows the difference between her trimmed back hoof (on left), and eight weeks of growth (on right) The new trim gives her better balance and easier movement. Her stifle lock is not gone…but mo’ betta.
Pockets to vet33One last look after the trim, and a little trot-about. Here is Pockets singing…’The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Girls’. Actually it was more like…”OH MY GWAD…WE DONE???? I WANNA GO HOME NOW-NOW-NOW!!!!”Pockets to vet35Well excuse me m’ dear…but we are not quite done. First, Elizabeth had to express her gratitude to the good doctor.Pockets to vet36Pockets to vet37Lots of gratitude…Pockets to vet38Back home, Pockets set a personal best for her quickest ‘unload’ time…Pockets to vet39

Her elders were excited to have their little mascot home…Pockets to vet40

Grayson not so much. He was still recovering from an AWOL adventure during a thunderstorm the night before…Pockets to vet41

Pockets doesn’t know this yet, but in five weeks she will have another day of Blood, Sweat, and Gears. Poor wonkey-ponkey!Pockets to vet42

Thanks to all for following this little Tale of Pockets!
Pockets to vet44

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.

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…

“SAY WAAAAH DOC RM SPOCK???? …

…BEAM THAT DAMN HORSE IN THE TRAILER!!!!”

And with that, he disappeared.

Still… I must say…DR. RM SPOCK…ROCKS.

 

PHOTO OF THE DAY – STAR LIGHT, STAR FIGHT – November 15, 2015

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.

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.

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