Posts Tagged ‘Ashe county North Carolina’

THE END OF A HUMMER OF A SUMMER

Here is a post I started in July with only a few days of hummingbird photos in my 2017 collection. I couldn’t stop shooting. I kept postponing the post for more photos. And more and MORE, until one day I realized the hummers had nearly disappeared.

I mention Ravel’s Bolero below, and like that engrossing orchestral piece, the hummingbirds seemed to grow in volume and grandeur to the point it became so exhilarating, it was truly  breathtaking. And then with a crash almost, they were gone.

Not quite. There are still a few hanging out, but for the most part my summer-hummer entertainment is over.

I learned Ravel was originally commissioned to write Bolero as a ballet. How absolutely, splendidly perfect.

Morning Ballet..

Turning back the page to mid summer…here is the original post…

July 2017…They’re at it again on the funny farm. We’re in full swing in the hummer-bomber season. Those sex maniacs. Those terrorists. Those living-breathing projectile missiles of mass sugar intake.

Yes. Sugar junkies they are. I worry sometimes…wondering about the timing of things. When to refill the feeders? How long before their gluttonous sexual appetites will need to be refueled?

There’s a jug of fuel all ready to go. Like filling up at the gas station, it’s available. But if you’ve ever refilled a hummingbird feeder you know you wait till it bottoms out. It has to run on empty or you waste the fuel as you inject the high octane sugar water all upside-down then re-twisting the bottom, then right side up it goes, all sugary-drippy down your arm.

I go through about 25 pounds of sugar in the summer months.

It’s ridiculous. This power these hummers have over me.

They are just tiny bombers. They cannot destroy me. Their sexual desires have nothing to do with me.

Directly.

But they do.

I confess. I love when the hummingbirds come back and eventually go into full swing and drive me nuts. It’s like listening to Ravel’s Bolero. Starts off…Sweet…Quiet…Easy. Then baits you into the sensory experience of MORE MORE MORE. GRANDER. LOUDER. CRESCENDO! APPLAUSE!

Like being a voyeur. I spy on their habits.

More dive-bombing. More seduction. More brilliant maneuvers.

Such ritual!

If only I could just for a moment, see a nest. See the the results of the explosive courting embodied in magnificent, quiet creations. The eggs like jellybeans, I read in a beautiful description. The tininess of a heart that will eventually beat at 1260 beats per minute. Unbelievable! I learned the mamas like to lace their nests with lichens. How cool is that?

Meanwhile, the boys just want to mate. Then they’re gone. We’re outta here. You girls fend for the young ‘uns.

Maybe the girls like it that way. Those redneck boys!

I hang my two feeders in the exact same place year after year. The hummers like that. Generation after generation. They like calling this home for the summer season and I like watching the same morning dance with new and old partners, year after year.

They may live 3-5 years but pass on their generational appetites for the same human-mother-fueled-sugar-water-feeders. They’ve trained us well. All the research I’ve read, all the human vocabulary…got nuttin’ on what these birds know and want…and get from us.

Frankly, I can’t tell them apart. I have never named a hummer. That’s ok. I’d be like my grandma trying to keep them straight as they hum around, fooling me endlessly. Freddie? Debbie? Marcy? Hap? Diana? Forget it.

I’m astounded by their  brilliance in the early morning light. I have made hundreds of photos, many of which are so similar, so redundant but like fingerprints…every one is slightly different.

If the early morning light is not all mellowed by valley mist, which is all too often the way in July and August, the shadow-effect on the post near the feeders always blows my mind. It’s fleeting. Shadow dancing…moving across the post. A double dance. Worth shutting out everything else for. Gotta catch it just right. Timing is critical.

I experimented. First with the vibrant morning light and ballet rituals, then I became entranced by evening light, when often it appeared as black and white…a dance in montotones. No matter what time of the day during July and August, I would be drawn towards the window. I’d find a spot. And sit quietly.

Here they come….Thankfully, Moondust lost interest long ago…

TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE BRAIN

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

May I please be a celestial object?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHOTOS FROM YESTERDAY – HOMECOMING – AT LAST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here we go…

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

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

Have a happy, totally FREE-RANGE INDEPENDENCE DAY!

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – 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!

WHAT MEMORIAL DAY MEANS TO MY PIG

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

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

Hear Hear!

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

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

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

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

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

START YOUR HOSES! Mem Day1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you tell?Mem Day8

Such admiration and appreciation for a good beer…Mem Day9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?
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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…)
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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….
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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…
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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?

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