Posts Tagged ‘farm animals’

HOLIDAY FARM ANIMALS (I sure hope they don’t hold a grudge)

I can’t help myself. A flashy holiday rolls around and I feel this need to dress up my farm tribe and make photographs. How silly is that?

(rhetorical question…don’t  bother asking the animals)

I have to wonder…in my middle-aged life…am I just now getting in touch with the inner childhood I missed out on growing up as a tomboy climbing trees…when I could have been outfitting Barbie dolls?

(no regrets…and again…don’t ask the animals)

I learned recently, there was a scientific study that determined dogs have no self-awareness with regard to how they look. I could have spared the expense of that study and offered the same conclusions (from all my farm animals), backed up by Freeka’s Funny Farm research and documentation. Lily with spaghetti drools all over her snout, the pigster with a little poo stuck to his tail, Gypsy with more brown mud on her body than natural white, Pockets with a sticky molasses nose…and they each be like…

“WHO CARES?

WHY YOU LAUGHING AT ME?

I FEEL GOOD!”

(sung to James Brown tune)

However…when it comes to Christmas holiday photography, those same critters may just exhibit a little more self awareness.  They’ve made it through Valentine’s Day, St Patty’s Day, Fourth of July, and Halloween, but the year is not quite complete without a few Christmas costumes and a little craziness.

I apologize to all the critters I have humiliated. Just know, in my eye you are all so fun, and yes, silly. So…what’s wrong with that? I promise never to turn y’all into Barbies.

This year I had the pleasure of humiliating someone else’s farm animals. “Whew!”… said the tribe. Took the pressure off the gang here. But as you will see, my gang did not go completely…undressed…shall I say?

Here are some favorites from here and beyond at Tucker Farm.

I’ll start with Toots and the decorating of the tree. Toots did not want to budge from the new dog bed that was taking up so much room right where I was trying to decorate our little Christmas tree. So what’s a girl to do? Yes! Decorate the dog. Well c’mon…I had to stretch out those new Christmas lights somewhere!

Toots…hoping she wouldn’t be gift-wrapped next…

I know how much Elizabeth loves having photos made with her Pips, especially to share with her family and fans at Christmas time. The Pips are such troopers as photo models, all I have to do is say…SMILE! …and look what I get…

…SMILES all around!

Never mind that Pockets was wearing a doggie outfit…that ponkey loves to dress up!

Even Grayson didn’t seem to mind the ‘faux mistletoe’…any reason to nibble…lick…kiss…

Nobody looks terribly humiliated here…right Elizabeth? (better pass out some treats real fast)

On we go to Tucker Farm. My favorite home away from home. The lady of the farm, my great friend Karen, has a good-sized tribe of rescued donkeys and goats at her barn and each year she’ll do a little Christmas slide show with her gang. I couldn’t wait to get involved. Three of my favorite horse pals live there as well, and almost living there, is another simpatico, ‘favorite-home-away-from-home’ girlfriend, Janice, who owns two of the horses.

My goat-to girlfriends…Karen on left, Janice on right…butt-heads in front…

None of the Tucker Farm critters are newbies at photo shoots. As soon as the costume container came out in the horse pasture, Dart was all into everything…

…hmmm…maybe red is really my color?

“Hey Dart…when you stick your nose in the goodies box…well who nose what will happen next…eh? Ha Ha Ha!”

(is this horse lacking a sense of humor?)

Here’s Dart’s stable mate, Louie. The twin brother of the same mother of costumes…Might have a case of stink eye going on here..

Asante…the only mare on the farm…ready to dance… …and prance……and maybe a little french kiss? (such a huzzy!)

On to the donkeys and goats. It was such a highly organized Christmas shoot with a bunch of curious models just waiting their turn.

Like a Victoria’s Secret Christmas runway show, we told them.

Yup…you believe that?

It was more like…

(goats and donkeys)…”HAY…WHAT’S to EAT in that BOX?”

(girls)…”HEY! GIT OUTTA THERE YOU RASCALS!”

 That…’You’ve Goat to be Kidding’ look….

Can’t wait to unwrap my presents!

Truly…Star Struck…What Ernie was really thinking…

“Star Struck…my butt! I just wanna know if that thing on my head is…EDIBLE?”

Check out my favorite goat, Ethel. Too bad she got stuck with my middle name.

Poor dear.

I think because of that, (ruthless teasing…you gotta understand!), she likes the idea of having grown a set of balls……now what to do with those balls???

Stormy said…”After this? I am sooo breaking into the feed room. First chance I get.”

Thanks girls…I was seeing so much red and green…I didn’t know whether to stop…or go……or just grow a mustache…

Meanwhile…back at the Funny Farm…things were getting out of control.

D.O.G. had busted into his stocking and lookee what he found!!!

DANG!…D.O.G….gimme back my Recluse Man!!!!

The Pips had found the calendar that will surely make them overnight Hollywood sensations…

…ya think??

My New Year’s date turned out to be a real pig…Toots spoke her first and final words of the year……and then passed out from overexertion…I caught D.O.G. ransacking the Christmas goody bags…

…then squatting on my homemade holiday cards…and is that the sports section of the paper where I circled all my winning bets??? …I will forgive that pigster…if the rest of all those wonderful creatures will forgive me…

Deal…D.O.G.?

HERE’S TO A STYLISH NEW YEAR!!!

2017 WITH THE PIPS … A CALENDAR TO MAKE YOU SMILE!

In my ‘what the heck…better late than never‘ approach to life, I decided to do a 2017 calendar. This decision came out of the blue and was inspired by a total stranger…not so long ago. I can count the days ago. OK…maybe weeks ago. Where does the time a…go?

This is the eighth calendar in my photo career.  For my last calendar in 2014, I used 86 photos and such complex layouts, I nearly strangled myself with baling twine. Or was it hari-kari with a pitchfork? When it was all over and done with, after the calendars arrived and I ripped into the box from the printer…I was proud. It was the most unique calendar of mine…ever. It was funny. It was charming. I got great feedback. I was so proud and exhausted by it, I told myself I would never do another.

Yet here I am. Again.

Without further ado, let me introduce the pages of calendar-2017…The Pips.

It started off all over the map. Initially I pulled 60+ photos as prospects. It was going to be a farm calendar…then a Pips calendar…but mostly in the end… it is a Pockets calendar.

With over 240 photos in the working folder, 67 made the cut. That little ponkey rules! It’s no wonder. She is incredibly photogenic and the most willing model around. And she loves wearing hats and beads. My kinda girl.

Here’s a little synopsis of the calendar, month by month, starting with the cover….

It was Mardi Gras season and Elizabeth, (Pips owner and #1 mama), was in her hometown of New Orleans. I was jealous. It was soooo cold on the farm. No better way to warm up than have a silly shoot with The Pips and celebrate Mardi Gras right here.

The Pips were all over-and-into the costume and bead bags. Grayson was fascinated by his ponkey-girl’s accoutrements. Pockets did not want to give up her orange shades and in fact did some laps around the pasture wearing them. Let’s have a parade! Krewe of Pips. That ponkey. That pony. We had a blast. Way better than being in the French Quarter for Mardi Gras. Well almost.

COVER 2017

This is one of my all-time favorite photographs…
front-cover

JANUARY

When we really get a good snow it’s a hoot to watch Pockets try to keep up with all the ‘biggers’. Those short little legs of hers! Sometimes the snow is up to her belly.

Run Pockets…RUN!1_2017_page-copy

FEBRUARY

Romance abounds on the funny farm. OH MY GWAD!2_2017_page

MARCH

What an in-between month. I had a hard time choosing the right photos. Is it still winter? Or is it spring? Can I be Irish for a day? Let’s talk. Pockets always wants to talk. And I always like to listen in. Whether it’s with Mama G or whoever else she’s yakking up. No matter how silly.

That ponkey has important things to say!3_2017-revised-blog

APRIL

Daffodils are sprouting. Tulips too. But who cares if you are a ponkey? So long as the grass starts growing again. Then…just like the rest of us…Spring Fever sets in.

It’s time to frolic!4_2017

MAY

Back in the 90’s, I photographed the Kentucky Derby three years in a row, right down on the track on the home stretch. Although I have mixed feelings about horse racing in general, it was an incredibly exciting photography experience that had just as much to do with the hats and the crowds, as it did the horses. Every year on the first Saturday in May, you will find me watching the Kentucky Derby on TV. Then, this year (2016), it dawned on me. Why not have our own little derby? Pockets was thrilled. Any reason to dress up and wear a big, pink, floppy hat is fine by her.

But the socks? They didn’t last long.5_2017

JUNE

Both Grayson and Pockets were born in June 2014, at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. Great reason to party down! What a big-sticky-fun-molasses-and-carrots-mess. The Pips would love having a birthday every month of the year.

Bring on the balloons!6_2017

JULY

Who would have thunk? A rainbow-loving ponkey!!!7_2017

AUGUST

Just about every time Elizabeth comes out to visit The Pips, there’s a walk involved. It’s so pretty around here, with the New River nearby and a nice big meadow for grazing. Heck yeah!

Let’s go for a walk!8_2017

SEPTEMBER

Can you tell we are Panthers fans around here? Well at least when they’re having a good year…we are. Even though Pockets dreams of being a quarterback, I think she makes a better punter. A backasswards punter.

Budweiser Horses…move over! Bring on The Pips!9_2017

OCTOBER

So much for the Great Pumpkin. Right Pockets? I don’t think she’s a believer. Otherwise, she would not be chomping Great Pumpkin offspring. Agreed?

All she wanted was to be a unicorn.
10_2017

NOVEMBER

Aside from Thanksgiving, I’ve never been a big fan of November. The leaves have fallen, the days are shorter, and winter teases. Thank you Pockets, for sharing your good attitudes and bringing joy to November. Grayson too…you funny shag carpet…you.

Enjoying November Pips-style…yes!11_2017

DECEMBER

It’s seldom The Pips are naughty, and if they are, it’s usually my fault for leaving a gate unlatched somewhere. Mostly nice they are, and certainly full of spice. Just ask Santa. He’s stuffing their stockings with horse cookies and treats…

…and don’t forget the carrots-dunked-in-molasses…paleeze!12_2017

We have done a small run of calendars with only ‘backyard’ promotions. Heck we don’t even have an e-commerce site up. It’s a project for a few friends and fans to enjoy. If you’re interested, leave me a comment or shoot me an email (animalgardentribe@gmail.com) and I’ll see if I can reserve a calendar for you. They are $15, plus $5 shipping in the US.

Happy Holidays from the tribe at Freeka’s Funny Farm!

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!

POCKETS AND THE KENTUCKY DERBY

When Pockets heard it was Kentucky Derby Day this past Saturday, she went ponkers. Only a ponkey can go ponkers.

You should have heard her.

“OH MY GWAD! I MUST GO! NOWNOWNOW! IT’S KENTUCKY DUHBY DAY!!!! I WANNA WEAH A HAT! I WANNA DWINK A MINT JOOWUP! I WANNA BE A WACEHOSS!!”

It was a gorgeous, breezy, spring Saturday on the funny farm. We were all laughing hard, trying to imagine ‘Pockets the racehorse’. Elizabeth was here at her home-away-from-home to work and play with her Pips. My neighbor Suzanne, had also come over for a weekend visit. She loves to walk the Pips and is now officially ‘Mama S’. She sure earned it on Saturday.

When Pockets expressed her great Derby destination desires, we tried to explain how long a trailer ride it would be to Louisville, Kentucky.

I said, “Remember that four hour round trip trailer ride to the vet the other day? Well sextuple that.”

Pockets said, “I HATE IT WHEN YOU TALK DUHTY!”

Oh never mind.

We agreed we’d have our own Kentucky Derby Day right here on the farm. That pawky ponkey knows how to cast a spell! I love this new word I learned…

pawk·y

(pô′kē) adj. pawk·i·erpawk·i·est Chiefly British. Sly and cunning, often in a humorous manner  (see the pawky ponkey make her mamas swoon)

I photographed the Kentucky Derby three years in a row, back in the 90’s. I was with a group of photographers shooting for the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs. Usually I was assigned a spot on the track near the starting gate, which meant I’d shoot the very start of the race and then the last turn before the final stretch to the finish line. It was a thrilling event to photograph, although you sure didn’t want to blow it.

The most fun of course, was spending the entire day at Churchill Downs with access to almost anywhere.

I entertained Pockets with stories from the Derby, as Elizabeth worked on ‘the look’….
Derby1
 Check out Pockets the Ponkey on Derby Day!!!
Derby2
We tried the ‘ears under’ look…
Derby3

Derby4

…but Pockets much preferred the striking ‘one ear out’ look…Derby6

“I WANNA MINT JOOWUP!”Derby5Elizabeth tried to get her mind on other things. “Howzabout a carrot?”Derby10“NO CARROT! I WANNA MINT JOOWEP!!”Derby7Things got on the verge of ugly when Mama E ‘borrowed’ her hat and shades…Derby9After that, Pockets went off on her own in search of a mint julep…Derby11

I swear we did not give that ponkey a mint julep…although it may appear as such…Derby12

“WEAD MY EAW…ONE MINT JOOWUP PWEESE!!!!”Derby13Well at least pull up your socks and put your bonnet on straight!Derby14

“MINT JOOWUP NOW!”Derby15

Straighten up you PAWKY PONKEY! Let’s go to the races!

‘IS DIS DA STAHTING GATE?” (BIG snort)Derby18“OK OK…I’M WEADY TO BE A WACEHOSS!”Derby19

Elizabeth had been training Pockets to follow the carrot stick…Derby20

Sometimes the races get off to a slow start…Derby21

…and the trainer gets more of a workout…Derby22

Go Elizabeth! Git along Lil Ponkey!!!!Derby23Derby24Derby25Derby26Derby27

Pockets was curious. She was just warming up. “WAT WONG WIF YOU?”Derby28Suzanne to the rescue…that girl is an athlete!!!Derby29

Hither and yon they ran…at least as ‘yon’ as you can get in a round pen…Derby31

Pockets had long since tossed the hat…then the socks…then the shades. Meanwhile Mama S put on her Derby hat. It’s a Run for the Carrots!Derby30

GO POCKETS!Derby32

GO!!!!Derby33

RACE OVER!!! POCKETS CAUGHT THE CARROT STICK! WOOT!Derby34It had been a marvelous Derby Day. Everyone was exhausted. Or so we thought.

“PWEESE CAN I HAVE A MINT JOOWUP?”Derby16

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

STUBBORN AS A MULE

I wouldn’t dare call Pockets a mule to her face. But technically speaking, it is what she is.

Breed a male (jack) donkey, to a female (mare) horse, and you’ll get a mule.

But the way we see it around here…ya breed a donkey to a pony…ya got a ponkey.

Ponkeys are total cuteness. Ponkeys are endless entertainment. A good ponkey is short and stout, with big ears and will chase away homie-dogs and hyenas. A good ponkey always comes right over after chasing a hyena…in immediate need of a cuddle-rub-hug and a smile.

After all…fearlessness deserves reward.

A good ponkey has a smile that will make you laugh.

Yet..a couple of days ago I found myself laughing my ass off…over a naughty ponkey’s grimaces.

OH MY GWAD…here comes another episode of Trailer Loading Flunkies.

(move over Star)Star load

That same-sinister-black Darth Vader horse trailer that created my personal ‘Star-Wars’ last year, is back. Sitting in my pasture. Waiting for a trip down the mountain to carry Pockets-the-Ponkey to a vet.

Too bad after the trailer arrived, we told Pockets she needed to be ‘vetted’ at the end of April. Big mistake.

Instantly she retorted; I WILL NOT BE VETTED…NOT EVER-NEVER…NOT TO GWAYSON OR ANYBODY…NO VETTINGS FOR ME…GWAYSON NEVER EVEN PWOPOSED!!!!

(What a Drama Queen…I told her she was too young to be wedded…and that’s not what I meant in the first place!)

Ever since, Elizabeth has been diligently teaching Pockets how to load in the monster-trailer. They were making big strides, those two.

Then a couple of days ago when Elizabeth couldn’t make it out, I promised her I would load Pockets. My friend Janice was coming over to collaborate on a round pen session with Star. Janice and I both have three year old geldings and we had agreed to do ‘co-op’ training sessions, sharing time with our boys. It was her turn here. Our goal that day was to put a girth around Star for the very first time.

Success!J & Star girth

I was so tickled to see my crazy boy wearing a fancy belt around his scrawny waist…Star girth

Loading Pockets afterward, sounded like a piece of carrot cake. I told Janice I would snap some photos for Elizabeth while she loaded Pockets. Easy-breezy. Nothing to it. The P-Pip had loaded already.

I must mention…Janice is light as a sparrow. Very horse savvy. And full of mischief.

She led Pockets to the trailer ramp and sat down inside.

What the hay?

Star watched from the sidelines with huge trepidation…Star trailer Pockets

No doubt…Pockets was wondering about the new girl at the end of her ponkey leash…Pockets trailer1

Let the circus begin!Pockets trailer2

It was about here…J&P trailer

…that I was laughing so hard…I nearly peed my pants…J&P trailer3

Meanwhile…Janice was flying by the seat of her pants!J&P trailer3

Down the trailer ramp and through the pasture they go!J&P trailer4

Star was…shall we say…Startled? Notice Grayson in the distance…chomping away…J&P trailer5

Finally Pockets gave into curiosity and stopped pulling…
J&P trailer6

Pockets-the-Ponkey decided to investigate ‘The Girl Who Wouldn’t Let Go’…J&P trailer7

The two of them talked it over…Janice said…YOU ARE STUBBORN AS A MULE!

Pockets said…I AM A PONKEY…NOT A MULE…I AM A FONKEY-WONKEY-PONKEY…YOU HONKEY!J&P trailer8

…slowly they made up…J&P trailer9

ROLL THE CAMERA!!…B Roll!J&P trailer10Thank Gwad…Elizabeth showed up the next day…P&E trailer1

I was worried we had made a wreck of her training progress…E&P trailer6

Carrot bribes sure help…E&P trailer7

P&E trailer2

But in the end it was Grayson…P&E trailer3

…who saved the day…P&E trailer4

All lickety-split that stubborn mule…I mean PONKEY…loaded!

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?

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – BLOG SITTER – November 25, 2015

Until further notice, I have reassigned my duties as Star-trekker-trainer, and daily blog poster, to a highly qualified substitute.

As you can see, this substitute of mine has exuberance, she’s forthright with her goals, she has a good chomp, and every so often; a nice disposition.

Meet…Whip-Lash….POTD_15_11_24_substitute_1

“Hey Whip-Lash!! … Let go of Star!!! …See you on Friday with some leftover stuffin’!”POTD_15_11_24_substitute_3

HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y’ALL!

PHOTO OF THE DAY – NO BULL – November 18, 2015

It’s a rainy, gloomy, windy day on the farm.

I’m starting to get cabin fever….along with the dogs.

But not that pigster, D.O.G. He’s two feet away…nestled against the couch. He’s making petite grunts while he dreams. I think he is airborne now. His hooves are twitching as he goes higher and higher! He’s a flying pig!

D.O.G.GONE!!!

This kinda day? If I drank Red Bull…I’d have two. But then I might be seeing double. …POTD_15_11_18_red_bull

So I think I’ll just take a nap.

(btw…these are Scottish Highland cows…No Bull. They’re really sweet gals.)

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