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!!!!!

D.O.G. …. The Hedonistic Pig

Among the many things I have learned from D.O.G. about pigs, perhaps the one that stands out foremost, is that given half a chance, pigs are consummate pleasure seekers. They thrive on indulgent behavior. They appreciate the finer things in life. They love warm fuzzies. I would not be the least bit surprised if it was a pig who inspired Joseph Campbell to ‘follow his bliss.’

I like this hedonistic pig philosophy. It works for me. Except maybe when D.O.G. brings his philosophy indoors. After all, as a pig-keeper I have to draw the line somewhere.

Take this morning for example. I found D.O.G. fresh out of a mud puddle, chomping with gusto, under an apple tree. Now those two things, mud puddles and apple trees, rate very high on the hedonism scale. To combine the two experiences is approaching bliss.

FG_013_1 copyFor some reason, pigster reminds me of the half-moon cookies I loved so much in New York. Chocolate icing on one side, vanilla icing on the other…is he too fat to roll over???FG_026_1 copyApproaching bliss…FG_049_1 copy

I made a few photos, then went back to work up in the house. Moments later, I heard those endearing little grunt-squeaks that usually make my heart flip-flop. D.O.G. was at the door. I snuck out the other door with my camera….

FG_057_2WHAT THE….FG_059_1 copy…HECK???FG_063_1 copyOH MY D.O.G.!!!!

My former butler knew by my tone of voice, he was going in the wrong direction. Perhaps he also realized he was not turned out properly for a house visit? I wouldn’t bet on it. He was fired for a reason.

D.O.G. deftly backed out the door and headed towards me (that always makes my heart flutter)…FG_066_1FG_067_1 copyBut then…..errrrhhh…what do we have here???FG_068_1 copy

SCRUMPCIOUS PORCH MORSELS!!!FG_069_1 copyshluuuurrrrphgrunchgrunch goes the begonia….FG_070_1 copy…as seen from the chocolate side of my piggy-cookie…FG_077_1 copyFuschia Blossoms! … Manna from Heaven!!! FG_074_1 copy

This was, by all pig standards, a triple-delight morning.

Mud puddles! Apple trees! Flower blossoms!

It tuckered the pig slam out.

I haven’t told D.O.G. about a visit to my favorite bakery yesterday, when I made off with nine desserts!!! Including this to-kill-for chocolate roulade…FG_106 copy

ITFG_136 copyWASFG_139 copyBLISSFUL!FG_140 copyOK. So I’m a hedonist too.


I Love A Good Horse Show! (A Tribute to Longacres Riding Camp and the Blowing Rock Horse Show)

Some of the very best summers of my life were spent at horseback riding camp and weekend horse shows. The first summer I attended Longacres Riding Camp in East Aurora, NY, I was 13 years old. I had been taking riding lessons for several years and had a pretty good ‘seat and hands.’ When I started jumping fences, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Way cooler than clarinet lessons.

It was a tough time for me. My mom had died that February. For my sister and me, she was our everything. Our father had passed before either of us had a chance for any memories. I was only two when he died. My world turned upside down when I became an orphan. Plans were made for me to finish school in Oswego, NY, spend summer at camp, then move in with my aunt and uncle and cousins in Ohio for the new school year. I was a mess inside. Depressed. Sad. Aching. I missed my mother fiercely.

Then something truly beautiful happened. Summer riding camp. It seems I was destined to have a fabulous experience. So often in my life, I have found horses work a crazy kind of magic to heal whatever ails me, or at least lessen the ache….even the intense sadness I felt in my heart at that time. Four summers in a row I blossomed at camp, then sort of wilted in between.

When I was a camper at Longacres, the show team would compete at nearby events every weekend. We rode hunters and jumpers, which usually meant our competition was a whole mess of hoity toitiness. Hoity toity trailers. Hoity toity horses. Hoity toity girls and saddles and bridles and britches and jackets. Gawd…I couldn’t bear to spell ‘hoity toity’ one more time…much less mouth it as I write….try it three times out loud… HOITY TOITY…ha! … ya look like a hungry guppy.

Due to all this, ah hem, hoity toitiness…it felt great to kick some butt.  There we’d be with our mixed-breed camp horses and not so fancy saddles, old bridles, and I know I had second hand britches and a black wool jacket that gave me the vapors, it was so hot. We did a lot of winning because we were breathing, dreaming, talking, brushing, riding and living for horses. Forget tennis, archery, and arts and crafts….we were 24/7 camp-horse-chicks out to have FUN and WIN!!!!

Too bad I lost all the photos I had from camp in a house fire, my second year in college. I was having lots of fun making Polaroids the last summer at camp. Perhaps there was a little seed in that Polaroid collection that blossomed into a desire to study photography.

Here’s a photo from a camp reunion two years ago…that’s me on the left, with my old counselor Peachy in the middle (she survived us brats!), and best friend and co-conspirator, Sooz on the right. Whatever trouble we got in together…it was all Sooz’s fault. Right Peach?FG_038

I think back to those days whenever I attend a horse show. Maybe that’s why I like the Blowing Rock Horse Show (NC) so much. Doesn’t hurt that it’s nearby and a huge old show; revered by many generations of riders and spectators. It’s been held for 92 consecutive years, which makes it one of the oldest running horse shows in the country. No western riding here…nah uh. Just Saddlebreds and Hunters and Jumpers.FG_136 copy

As it just so happened, my friend Elizabeth gave me a free ticket for the last day of the show. It was a gorgeous Sunday in the mountains. Once I stepped out onto our deck and away from my guilt-ridden desk, I couldn’t find any reason not to go. That’s right. My desk is guilt-ridden…not me. And I have the strength and power to walk away from it at any time.

Through the years, the show ground facilities have expanded. Below is the second show ring, adjacent to the main ring with box seats and bleachers. Box seats are rarely given up so it’s great fun to know someone who is having a party. Or just talk your way in under the pretense  you are an important and famous photographer. I always check to see how well stocked the box is first.FG_023

FG_019When you are not associated with any particular barn or group of riders, there is no one to root for. Or everyone. I like to wander around the grounds and meet some of the competitors, both horses and riders. In fact, I enjoy inhaling the overall vibe as much as watching the show. Maybe that’s because I love the smell of horses and barns. And horse sweat and manure.

What? You never knew I love the smell of poo? I admit…I doo!

(notice I did not use the ‘s’ word…it was difficult…but I DID NOT USE THAT WORD)

Here are Laura & Memphis getting ready for a jumper class…FG_006

I was never very good at braiding manes. Give me a tail for a French braid any day. Sheesh… I gotta bury my nose in this gorgeous neck…FG_008

By the end of the show, the riders have accumulated a lot of ribbons!FG_222


Every direction I turned, there was something going on….FG_203 copy FG_212 copy

…and some pretty silly horses to meet…FG_236 copyFG_039 copy

At times, it seemed like there were more dogs than horses…FG_220 copy

FG_227 copy

FG_308 copy

Check out Donald Trump on the left…FG_239 copy

It’s a dog-sniff-dog world…
FG_065 copyFG_063 copy

Two cuties…FG_153 copyFG_155 copy

When I moseyed back to the main show ring, a walk-trot class for little kids was about to begin. The moms and coaches were giving final tips and reminders…FG_276 copyFG_278 copy

It was hard to tell the three riders and horses apart…unless you went by small, smaller, and smallest.FG_029 copy

How adorable. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach!FG_284 copyFrom one mount to another…FG_296 copy

Total cuteness…next size up…FG_248 copy

On the last day, for the final event, the Blowing Rock Horse Show hosts the $10,000 Jumper Classic. It’s a thriller to watch, but I couldn’t stay. Still, I did see some impressive jumping, both hunters and jumpers.

With hunters, it’s all about style and looking good as a horse/rider combo. Your approach to a fence must be timed just right and of course, you need to clear the fence, without a refusal. The fences will be a set height and not nearly as high as the jumper classes. The judging is subjective.

With jumpers it’s all about clearing the fence and doing the course as fast as you can…especially on the jump-offs when the fences are raised and the courses are tighter to maneuver and you’re riding against the clock. It doesn’t matter what you or your horse look like. The judging is objective. Fastest clean round wins.

This makes me think back to summer camp and a horse named York Springs. While I was a camper, he became an acclaimed Longacres jumper. People either gasped or giggled when he entered the ring. He was a HUGE roan draft horse with platters for feet, who appeared more suited for pulling a plow. When he entered the ring and did his warm-up circle, it looked like he might trip over his own feet. But when he jumped? WOW! The whole crowd would collectively hold their breath as he cleared fence after fence. York Springs…I’ll never forget that ole galump-of-a-horse with springs in his feet.

I love watching a horse and rider sail over a fence. You have to be in tune with your horse to make it look graceful and easy.FG_319 copy

FG_072 copyThese photos are from hunter classes…the same as I rode as a teenager. After a wicked spill two months after my mom passed and two months before summer camp, I never had the gumption to jump really high fences. I had been practicing for my very first horse show on a horse called Mud Puppy, when he caught the fence with his hoof and somehow fence and horse landed on me. I woke up the next day in a hospital forty minutes down the interstate, with seven broken bones and no recollection of that day. Still…I had my fears. 3′ 6″ is usually the highest the fences will be on a hunter course and plenty high for me.

FG_170 copy

I recently received word Longacres Riding Camp will be closing at the end of this season, following seventy-seven years in operation. The four summers I spent at Longacres were transformative and delightful….never mind that Sooz and I got in endless trouble away from the barn! Of course all the horses from that era passed long ago, but whenever my camp girlfriends and I get together and start talking about our old favorites, they are alive again in our memories.

The seventy-fifth jubilee was held at Longacres two years ago, during the final horse show of the season. No better time for old friends to reunite….right Sooz and Peachy?13_08_10_Camp_Longacres_Jubilee

Here is my beloved counselor Peachy, dumping a gin and tonic on my head … as payback for something way back when???13_08_10_Camp_Longacres_Jubilee

My dear friend through the ages, Tom Kranz (owner and director of Longacres), was the master of ceremonies…13_08_10_Camp_Longacres_JubileeHats off to Longacres Riding Camp for giving so many campers such wonderful experiences… and for giving me my love of a good horse show!FG_056 copyAnd hats off to the Blowing Rock Horse Show for preserving a beautiful tradition.

Recluse Man, Jurassic World, Dinosaurs and a Crocosaur…Oh My!

I love going to the dollar store. I mean the real dollar store, where everything is exactly one dollar. It blows my mind how many items can be bought for just one dollar. Of course, it might be crap, like the one dollar wire cutters I bought. They were so cute and shiny, I couldn’t resist. But when I tried to cut some framing wire, all they cut was air. I cut a fart as I marveled over how pretty those good-for-nothing-cheap-as-hell wire cutters looked on top of the coffee grinds in the trash. I should know better…than to eat beans for breakfast.

I mainly go for the one dollar Twizzlers at the dollar store. I’m a Twizzler junky driving down the road. The one dollar size fits perfectly in the glove compartment and is good for two chomp sessions. No time to go stale. Inevitably, while I’m getting my Twizzlers, I always end up with something else. Cane’t be helped…as we say in TrAshe county. There is always something I cane’t live without. Like the other day….I knew my life would be incomplete if I didn’t have one of these….

It’s a GROWTH CREATURE!Growth Creature

Did you see this??? 600%! Holy Crocodiles!!!600%

I was sooooo excited!

I put the growth creature in the tub and ran plenty of lukewarm water. growth creature in tub 1

OMG…what if it got HUGE overnight??? I left the bathroom door open. Just in case. I put an 18″ ruler down too, but feared I needed at least a yardstick….Growth Creature 2

Now right about this same time, Recluse Man was wrapping up a very cool project at work. Recluse Man oversees the facilities at a small resort hotel in a quaint town nearby. Every year they set up a booth at another resort in town, for a gala evening with the Charlotte Symphony. Each year a theme is chosen for the booths, and this year’s theme was Hollywood movies. Recluse Man was asked to recreate the entry to Jurassic World for his hotel’s movie theme.

This is just the kind of project Recluse Man loves. He’s an engineer and a builder at heart. He’s either built, and/or designed, over one hundred houses. I can testify to his simple yet elegant style. Not that Jurassic World would be either.

I kept hearing about Recluse Man’s Jurassic World. He put in well over 30 hours making the famous entrance. The day of the symphony, I went over to see how things were going. Wow! The styrofoam replica looked great as Recluse Man put the finishing touches on it.Recluse Man & JW entry

Then Double Wow when it went up!FG_025Good Job Recluse Man!FG_032

One of the guys Recluse Man works with found a source for some ‘real’ dinosaurs from the actual movie set. Turns out the owner of a local gem mine purchased several dinosaurs from the Jurassic World set for many thousands of dollars and was willing to loan them with the agreement he would keep the entry Recluse Man built.

Here comes one now…FG_033

.Forgit Recluse Man!!! I gotta check out the dinosaurs…FG_045How cool is this!FG_047They brought two dinosaurs over….FG_064

Whoops…wrong photo! This was the second dinosaur they used on the buffet table…FG_054-2Of course I had to mess with it…I like ’em scary…FG_054-1From my onOne filter stash….FG_053The first dinosaur was placed  beside the ‘electric fence’ Recluse Man made…jurr5 copy

We heard the fence was the biggest hit that night, with lots of kids and families posing beside it. At one point, a set builder from California stopped by and told Recluse Man he did an awesome job. I mean really awesome. Not that diluted ‘awesome’ everybody tosses around too freely these days.

I didn’t stick around for the gala. On the way home, with a brain full of dinosaur images, I found my car screeching as it turned into the gem mine. EERRRRRR…monster-me-out!! Here were the big guns…FG_076

Do dinosaurs eat bubbles?FG_089

I like his nails…I betcha he gives a good back scratch…FG_079Gotta be the owner’s car…FG_074

I was anxious to get home to my very own monster-in-the-tub. I had been refilling the tub with hot water and soaking my monster for days. I was still ‘seeing dinosaurs’ after the gem mine. It’s a very powerful thing to see dinosaurs in your head. It changes the world as we know it.

For example…I decided to drive home via my favorite mountain pass. Right over the crest, I can see ‘my mountain’ beyond this incredible old tree I have photographed many times. It’s a gorgeous view. I’ve watched and photographed as the years have taken a toll on this extraordinary tree…FG_017

But suddenly it became …A DINOSAUR FROM OUTER SPACE!FG_017-3

You had to be there.

My personal monster was an enigma. The package said he would grow 600% in several days and to be sure there was plenty of room for growth. HA HA…very funny!

This is what I came home to…
FG_472I reckoned I had a teenage Crocosaur on my hands, who was not yet ready to mature…FG_007_1Freekin dollar store.

I went out to my car and raided my Twizzler stash. I like to gnaw on Twizzlers when I’m driving….and when I’m frustrated. And was I ever frustrated. I decided I had given the Crocosaur plenty of time. Clearly he was never going to be more than a mini-croc. I must have been half-crocked to believe otherwise. I named him Croco’shihtt.

You are probably saying …”what did you expect from a one dollar growth creature?”

Oh be quiet.

I put on my Crocosaur wrangling hat and asked Recluse Man to document the less than stellar growth of my personal monster. Still….I couldn’t help but be a little proud…FG_054_4

“Stretch ’em out to full length,” Recluse Man suggested…FG_059_3

So I did…but then Croc’s tail snapped off!!!FG_060_3


You wouldn’t believe…it tasted just like chicken!!!!

Would you like some?

FG_064_1And that my friends, is the end of this monster tale…..


Wait….Wait…Wait…I’m not done yet!

Look at what Elizabeth just brought me….it’s my lucky day!!!

FG_068FG_073SHUT DA DOOR!!!!

Do It In The Dirt

I love it when a Monday starts off on a funny note. From all my experience with Mondays, they usually don’t work out that way. Unless you’re on vacation. Some people think I’m on permanent vacation. They may be right, but I still have a thing about Mondays. After all, It’s taken me three days to recover and post about.

This past Monday was the rare exception to the ‘Funky Monday’ frame of mind I’m usually in. Recluse Man had the day off!

I knew this dreamboat guy of mine would have loved sleeping in, but he was well aware of the pain I was dealing with. I jumped a ditch on a hiking trail last week and wrenched my back. It’s been frustrating to deal with in the middle of the summer, especially since I’m farm-sitting for the month of July. There are occasional chores that are too much for my bad back…like carrying 50 pound bags of chicken feed and moving heavy hay bales.

We hopped in Recluse Man’s big ole truck and headed down the road to the farm. By the way…RM always opens the truck door for me. Isn’t that dreamy? Long live chivalry!

I brought my camera to the farm just in case there was a good chicken shot to be had. I have become obsessed with photographing chickens lately. As it turned out, Monday was not a good day for shooting chickens. Not when Recluse Man was flexing his muscles.FG_010

Nothing makes my heart beat faster than a guy with a good strong back. That, and a Ford 150, and a chainsaw. Extra points if he can make a killer pizza.FG_007

But what does this have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing. Except that Recluse Man was with me when we returned to our farm, and I had my camera beside me. And I like to brag on my guy.

I burst out laughing when we pulled up to our barn. Look who was under the apple tree pigging out and dirtier than I had ever seen him!!!FG_017_1

That’s right….D.O.G. …who apparently thought it was hilarious as well….or maybe that was the last of an apple…FG_034_1 copy

He was definitely smiling and seemed especially proud of himself…FG_024_1

Lookee how dirty he was…. both sides! And he was wagging about it!FG_032_1 copy

The pig with the wagging tail took off for the barn, which is off limits no matter what condition his complexion is in. I shouted at Recluse Man…”SHUT DA DOOR!” And just in time!

I love this photo. Notice the exact same expression on both my guys!!!FG_041_1

Door shut. Mission accomplished!FG_038_1 copy

I got the feeling D.O.G. was losing his sense of humor…FG_043_1 copy

I went over to inspect…FG_045_1 copy

And then it occurred to me….did this mud bath have anything to do with my T shirt? My very own Animal Garden Shop T shirt that says … DO IT IN THE DIRT?


Can pigs read?FG_050-2Was it me who inspired him??? How ridiculous. This pig can’t see a piece of banana cream pie if it’s six inches away. He navigates mostly by smell. Did I smell extra bad? I had thrown on yesterday’s clothes but that’s that’s not unusual. Wait…back up. I didn’t mean ‘extra’ bad. It’s not like I smell bad to begin with. Please believe me.

 Tell me pigster!!!! Why the dirty butt?FG_054_1 copy

Pigs love mud. I love mud.

I’ll never forget some hellacious mud fights at summer riding camp. After a hard rain, the rings would be too wet to ride in, but perfect for mud fights.

Someone would yell MUD FIGHT!!!!! YES! The grit…the nastiness…the primal screams….flinging hunks of slippery gunk… grinding the grossness in girlfriends hair…ahhhhh…how I love a good mud fight! GROSE-ME-OUT!!!

Sheesh…I haven’t said that in years. I need to calm down.

Back to pigs. Pigs need mud. It cools them down, especially when they don’t have shade. Did you know a pig only sweats through its nose? I didn’t…until I met the pigster. So that makes it kinda weird when you say…”So-and-So sweats like a pig.” Does that mean So-and-So is dripping puddles off his/her nose and nowhere else? Have you ever met anyone called So-and-So? Me neither.

Forget what I said about pigs needing mud. Ever since D.O.G. insisted on moving his house from the chicken coop down at the barn, to the covered deck outside our front door, the rules have changed. Clean D.O.G. house. No need for mud. Plenty of shade. Cool mountain breeze. Fresh blankets. And with a clean piggy, there won’t be any telltale signs of a little indoor nap when Recluse Man gets home. Besides, I don’t do muddy piggy belly rubs.

See D.O.G. run.     (do I look dorky in my muck boots or what?)FG_058_1

Hey this is fun!!!        (dang… time to color my hair?)FG_065_1

Pockets the ponkey was very amused.           (oh no! a hair cut too?)FG_093_1 copy

Can you tell Recluse Man took these photos?FG_098_1 copy

It wasn’t the most thorough bath…but good enough for the funny farm…FG_108_1 copy

I dismissed the pigster…or maybe he dismissed himself…it wasn’t clear…FG_111_1 copy

Back to the D.O.G. house he went….FG_113_1 copyAnd that my friends, is the end of a very dirty pig tale.


D.O.G. the PIG

I never planned to fall in love with a pig. It just happened.

You see, a friend of a friend was looking for a home for his pig and posted as such on FaceBook. When my friend Alan saw the post, he immediately figured the pig and I were meant for each other. Alan is an alien with strange telepathic powers. Alan is also a rather zany artist and often uses farm animals as subjects.

But what the heck was he thinking?

He knew good and well I am a horse girl, a dog girl; a cat girl. Wait, let’s make that ‘woman.’ I’ve always wanted to be a Catwoman.

But a pig chick? …I have to admit, I liked the sound of it.

Did Alan’s telepathic powers have to do with the fact that I kissed his pig painting at an art  show?

FG_AGshow1I couldn’t resist! Isn’t that the most adorable pig on wheels with wings?

… so maybe kissing glass isn’t the same.

Seems to me, Alan has his own big-fat-flying-pig-love going on.

Ironically, it didn’t take me long to be convinced of my desire for this pig. Maybe five minutes of serious consideration. My two biggest concerns were;

a. Where would we put the pig???  Of course! …the chicken coop which is near the barn and the creek, with plenty of room to roam.

b. What about my dogs? Would they kill him? Would they harass him? Would they be jealous? Tommy assured me, D.O.G. got along fine with d.o.g.s….not to worry.

Still, I worried. But as it turned out, Tommy was right.

Recluse Man was another story. He grunted and protested, but ever the pacifist, he eventually acquiesced. I think he figured I’d do whatever-the-hell-I-wanted-anyway.


Then I ripped my top off and danced around the couch to distract his ‘thinking brain’ by engaging his ‘guy-brain’ which is that ‘reptilian brain’ in his cerebellum. Topless princess on the loose….works every time on the guy brain.

But let’s get back to the pig..shall we?

On a chilly February day, I drove to the next county over to meet Tommy and his pig named D.O.G. Tommy is Mister Cool. He is the only guy I know who can get away with wearing crochet shorts. He hugged me the first time I laid eyes on him and I knew right then, he must have a wonderful pig. Twenty minutes later his pig fake-chomped me as I tried to pose for a FaceBook photo and I about peed my pants… no shit.

This was two seconds before the ‘Fake Chomp.’ After that, I was wearing my ‘Fake Smile.’FG_022-4

I had never hugged a pig in my entire life. I had no reason to. But D.O.G. was quite the ham for Tommy, (sorry…slipped right out). Here he is showing off his ‘SIT’ trick….
FG_012-2…for a piece of pizza…

If this isn’t up close and personal…but waitaminute…later…while editing photos I noticed Tommy never hugged his pig….was there a reason?FG_013

After the fake-chomp, I was a little shaken and had lingering thoughts about how wrong this might be. Yet there was something about this pig.

Maybe it was the first time he wagged his tail at me….or maybe like the Roberta Flak song….’The first time ever I saw his face.’ I would continue with, ‘I thought the sun rose in his eyes’ … but to this day I have not seen the pig’s eyes.

Here is the first time ever I saw D.O.G.’s face….how could I not fall in love?

Isn’t that dirty snout just the cutest???FG_036-2

Tommy brought D.O.G. to me with the agreement I would keep him for a one month trial period. If it all worked out, he would stay indefinitely as part of the tribe.

I had to ask Tommy, “Do you call him ‘D-O-G?’ …or  ‘dee-oh-jee?’ …or knowing me, I’ll get it backwards and call him G-O-D.”

“Ha Ha. Whatever works for you,” he said.

Recluse Man and I mostly refer to him as ‘deoji,’ but I also call him ‘pigster,’ or ‘silly pig,’ or ‘you dawg,’ or if he’s been naughty I’ll use his proper name with a stern voice; ‘D.O.G.’ … just like my mom called me FRED-ERR-RICA when I was in trouble. It’s a shame to make cringes of a good and proper name, but it works.

D.O.G. arrived in the back of an SUV. Everything happened so quickly, I barely had time to grab my camera before he was on the ground and running. Well, not really running. More like standing.FG_004_1

My dogs were under strict orders to behave. One at a time they braved a whiff. First Toots….FG_017_1 copy

Then Lily…FG_016_1

Then…this is good…this is close enough…I can smell him from here….Jess…FG_015_1

The guys put D.O.G.’s house inside the chicken coop and covered everything with tarps…FG_027_1

Meanwhile, Gypsy and her Pips were very curious about the latest arrival. FG_047_1The Pips had never met a pig before!
FG_037_1Pockets wondered….could this be Pigasus? (she has an active imagination)FG_032_1

Before long, the coop was ready for D.O.G.’s grand entrance. Tommy coaxed him from within…FG_054_1But D.O.G. changed his mind and other methods had to be employed… FG_061_1Nothing beats peanut butter on a stick!FG_070_1The power of peanut butter!!!!FG_057_1

Once inside, D.O.G. had his own ideas about how his bed should be made…FG_097_1

FG_140 copyWhy that’s exactly how I make my bed!FG_141 copyNever had I seen such enthusiasm for bed-making!
FG_144 copy

After he tuckered himself out and long after Tommy left, I braved a belly rub. I had been dying to do this. Of course, I assumed this would make us best friends forever…

With increasing confidence, I tried a selfie only to be fake-chomped again!!!! I had so much to learn about pigs and their quirky ways. But first I had to change my panties.FG_085_1

Outside the chicken coop inquiring minds wanted to know….does it fly?FG_094_1

What a day it was! I pulled a blanket over the piggy and said good night. FG_170_2

I knew D.O.G. had lived in several different locations in his short life. He was a gadabout…a worldly pig who had grown up in an RV, and attended music festivals, and knows more people in town than I do. But at the ripe age of 3 1/2, Tommy knew it was time to find him a permanent home with loving, stable people.

Did I really say ‘stable?’

The horse stable…yes, yes.

So he ended up on a funny farm with a stable and loving people. Good enough. I was determined to make it work and have this be his final home…if only he’d quit with those scary fake-chomps!

Yawns…are ok. FG_172_1

Now here it is six months later and we are all tickled pink and living high on this hog!

And should you be wondering…I hug him everyday.


Hiya … heya …welcome to Freeka’s Funny Farm. Scroll right on down for some zany adventures and photos from life on my southern mountain farm.

I am Freeka. Well sometimes. Other times I’m Freddie. In fact, I have an entire collection of ‘F’  names but I’ll save that for later.

Yup...that's me wearing my 'F'avorite shirt

Yup…that’s me wearing my ‘F’avorite shirt

Now should you be wondering about the ‘Funny’ part of Freeka’s Farm…

Yes, we are all nuts here. No, we don’t take drugs to control it.

It’s just that I am a photographer who likes to laugh a lot. And somehow I ended up on this little farm in the mountains and now seven years into it, I find myself presiding over three dogs, two cats, a horse, a pig, a pony, a ponkey, and a boyfriend I call Recluse Man.

I am their tribal queen. Or maybe I’m a princess. Yes, yes, we’ll go with princess. It doesn’t really matter since no one realizes this very important role except maybe Recluse Man. And that always prompts a hearty laugh from him. Funny girl … ha ha … Princess. But who wouldn’t want a princess? Sometimes Recluse Man should take me more seriously.

Anyway…for some time now I have found myself greatly amused and entertained by the antics of my tribe and I think it’s about time to share. Besides, we have a ponkey named Pockets living here who is searching for fame and fortune. And more poo. Always gotta be  searching and sniffing for poo.

If you don’t know what a ‘ponkey’ is…well… you dummy…ya mate a pony with a donkey…ya got a ponkey …otherwise known as a mule. But we never-ever use the M word around here. Never.

The timing for my first blog entry couldn’t be better because you see, we’ve been partying. We like to party. Especially since Pockets the ponkey, and her sidekick Grayson the pony, just turned one. They were both born in June at Grayson Highlands State Park in VA into feral pony bands. Then three months later at the annual September auction (2014), my nutty friend Elizabeth bought them, and three months after that they came to live here.

Not only have the Pips just turned one, they have spent exactly half their little lives here on the farm. Woot..Woot.

This is so typical around here…Elizabeth and Pockets are cutting up and getting all the attention while Grayson takes backstage….FG_027_3Meet Grayson. Isn’t he a cutie-patootie? He prefers ‘handsome’ … you decide. btw….Elizabeth is always smiling around her Pips…it’s the real deal…and very contagious.FG_021_1_2Pockets believes in fairies and magic and of course…unicorns! We gave her a magic wand and told her to grant wishes and make rainbows and sprinkle magic everywhere…FG_035_2

“Oh My Gwad,” said Pockets…”waataaloadapoo….I waaaah more beads.”FG_039_2

Balloons on the hitching post! What the heck is a balloon?FG_043_2

I think the donkey in the ponkey makes Pockets more curious than Grayson. Plus she is a badass, watch-dog, half-ass and always on the look-out. She really is. A halfass I mean. You don’t believe me? Her daddy was a jackass, her momma a pony…so that makes her a halfass…but only Grayson calls her that. You need to start believing me.



Meanwhile Grayson showed some anxiety….perhaps he was worried we would play pin-the-tail-on-his-favorite-ponkey?FG_103_2Oh c’mon now patootie-face…have a lil sniff?FG_113_2FG_115_2Of course all of this is a way of offering the Pips new experiences. On a funny farm, why not make the lessons fun? (Don’t bother confirming with Grayson)

But enough about lessons…let’s get on with the party. And what would a party be without Mama G? Gypsy, or Mama G, has been with me for six years now. She had a carefree life with a couple of boyfriends before the Pips came along. Then BAM! Enter two of the tiniest baby horses (?) she had ever seen. It could have gone any which way. I mean, no one asked Gypsy if she wanted to be a surrogate mom. Why, she could have jumped the fence to audition for 50 Shades of Hay. Naturally, Elizabeth and I were thrilled to see Gypsy take the Pips in like they were her own.FG_066_2

Gypsy decided to attend as a blonde since she heard blondes have more fun….FG_138_2This was our version of a birthday carrot cake…shredded carrots with molasses drizzled on top. My kind of cake recipe. It was a HUGE hit!FG_064_2

Pockets….”Hey git yer own!”FG_133_2FG_142_2


OMG…youse guys are so cute…of course you can have seconds…

Mama E (Elizabeth) grabbed my camera while I distracted Gypsy to give Pockets a chance to lick her plate…at least that was the plan…FG_178_2Meanwhile, Grayson got in on it and I was surrounded by sticky lips! Lemme outta here!FG_186_2Then Gypsy found the molasses bottle and things got outta control. Molasses everywhere! It was a stickety-lickety good mess…FG_209_2I could have sworn Pockets the Ponkey was drunk on Molasses!FG_210_2

Even Elizabeth was brown and sticky under the nose…now how did that happen?
FG_087_2Well of course…molasses kisses!!!…but who has the brownest nose?? (Grayson doesn’t count)FG_090_2Feathers were sticking to Mama E’s lips….hey is that Groucho Marks?
FG_245_2Everyone had a great time. And no….we did not play pin-the-tail-on-the-ponkey!FG_247_2

Then right on cue, Tootsie the clean-up girl arrived to assist me.FG_255_2

Never was there a better birthday party on the funny farm!!