I have had many nicknames during my lifetime. Freddie, of course, is my everyday nickname. Freeka, my blog name. My mom used to call me Reeculous Ticklehoufer. I liked that name. Mainly because it came from my mom and it was just…ridiculous.

Perhaps the silliest nickname I ever acquired was, ‘Fred the Bed.’ That came from my best girlfriends at summer horse camp. I don’t think there was any relevance, or event, or behavior behind it. Just that it rhymed. These grown women still call me that. Good thing they don’t live nearby.

I share this as a preface to another dumb poem I wrote. It’s part Dr Suess and part explanation as to where the heck I’ve been all summer.

While most people kick off their summer around the Fourth of July, my happy season…my joy…my summer giddiness, came to an abrupt end that memorable weekend.

Hark ye revelers…for the story of my bum thumb…

Yup..I broke my thumb falling off an ATV in Pennsylvania, going zero miles an hour. My right thumb no less. My favorite, most cherished thumb. The one that makes me a right-handed human being.

I was riding tandem, looking for photo opps, when my nephew’s girlfriend tried to turn the ATV around going up a steep embankment. As it started to roll, I elbowed my camera bag over my left shoulder and took the downhill fall with all my weight on my right hand.

CRUNCH went my thumb….followed by LOUD, NAUGHTY words that frightened the wildlife. (animal wildlife…well ok, maybe Katie too)

Here is my chauffeur, Katie, having a blast without a passenger. Behind her is the seat I fell from. Lemme tell ya…riding tandem stinks! thumb2Said Fred the Bed

Why is my thumb so Red?

Could it be Broke?

Am I Awoke?thumb3Said the Thumb

You are so Dumb!

I am about to Croak

And you just Spoke?thumb4

X-rays in Pennsylvania revealed a broken Bennett bone. That’s the bone that hinges the thumb to the rest of the hand. The bone that allows twisting, pinching, squeezing…as in the ability to brush my teeth, use a pitchfork, or wipe my butt right-handed.

Uh boy. It’s gonna be a long summer.

Said Fred the Bed

You are messing with my Head

It’s the Fourth of July

Please don’t lie.thumb5

The Yankee doctor fixed me up with a splint so I could drive the ten hours back home to my favorite Southern bone doctors. Because of the holiday weekend, and more X-rays with the Boone Ortho doctors, I didn’t have surgery until a week later.

I had the best nurse. She told me to remove my earrings and watch and any loose teeth. Then she asked a series of questions, including the standard. On a scale of 1-10…what is your pain level? On a scale of 1-10…I think they asked me at least eleven times in four hours.

thumb6Finally, she asked if I was comfortable and apologized for the long delay. Then another nurse asked another round of questions starting with the famous 1-10 pain scale opener. She concluded by asking me if I felt like hurting anyone, including myself. Whaaaa?

thumb7Now why would she ask that?thumb8Moments later…they took away my cell phone…then my thumb.thumb9Next thing I knew…there was Recluse Man in a fuzzy-wuzzy world…thumb10Said the Thumb

Play your own Drum

But wear this stiff Splint

Like a message in Cement

Oh to hell with my thumb. My hand was very swollen, my fingers were black and blue, and I had a deep wound on my outer pinky from the first splint pinching so hard.

(Outer pinky. I like that. “Hey there…wanna see my outer pinky?”…or… “OK to bring my outer pinky along?”…or…”Wow…my outer pinky is shedding!”)

Yeah…to hell with my thumb…I was feeling no pain with those big, white pills they gave me.

I decorated my splint…thumb11

…and hung out with the tribe…thumb12

FG_009 copythumb13

It felt so goofy-good to be home post-surgery. Did I mention those white pills?thumb13

One day Recluse Man was painting the barn…thumb15

…when Pockets and I decided to get in on the fun…thumb16

Uh Oh!thumb17

That wonkey ponkey!!thumb18

Dang…she figured out the self-timer?thumb19

We had a blast!thumb20

…just ask Star…thumb22

Red roller, red roller…send Lily back over…thumb21

Then one day the white pills ran out and reality set in.

May I mention the frustration from trying to use a mouse left-handed with a big-fat-right-bum thumb on the keyboard. Or getting a lefty fork all neat inside my mouth without stabbing or slobbering. Or brushing my teeth…or…tying shoelaces…buttoning… unscrewing… doorhandles… knives…cast iron pans…and OMG…showering with a plastic grocery bag up to my elbow, trying to squirt out shampoo and lather one-handed.

Maybe the worst part was how much it hurt to hold my Nikons for long. Like more than three frames.

I have even greater respect now, for all those who have found ways to overcome limb and appendage disabilities. Humans and animals alike.

Said Fred the Bed

To the Thumb she thought Dead

I will Succumb

Just please..once again be my Thumb.

You are the sum of my Yum

My very right Thumb

The strum of my Hum

The opposite of Glum!

One week after surgery, I found myself back at the doc’s office. The nurse removed the splint to reveal the two pins in my hand…I think she left the gauze for effect. I just want you to know I had the following photos full size, until Recluse Man walked by and gagged.

You can thank him for the thumbnail size. It even sounds appropriate…

YIKES! New splint Paleeze!!! My hand was still very swollen and weak…thumb25

Three weeks after surgery I went in again for X-rays and a third splint. I shed a handful of skin as I scratched and waited and ignored the ‘no cell phone usage, no photos please’ sign.FG_007 copyMeanwhile Recluse Man had to cover me on farm chores. Secretly I was smirking. I don’t think he realized what goes into making the zoo and the farm happy everyday. Poor guy.

We got a lot of rain and the grass grew mightily.thumb 26I rounded up my own lawnmowers and pitched in…thumb 27Many days and nights passed…thumb28 thumb 29

Then finally six weeks after surgery, the pins came out! It was a little creepy..the thought of actually pulling the pins out. But it was painless and the best part…I was sent home with a removable splint.

The longest pin was 2.5″…dang. I painted my nails in celebration. After all…I was a left-handed pro by then.thumb29

I quickly switched to a thumb brace so I could finally use the mouse right-handed…thumb30

But something wasn’t right. My thumb was stiff as a clothespin and I thought it might never heal properly. Since childhood I have had a funky, right thumb. It tends to stick or pop at the knuckle. After all those weeks in a splint, it took days of massaging before I got my thumb to pop back into action.

That first pop was a thrilling moment…thumb33

Said Fred the Bed

To her comely Thumb

You are not dead but Instead

What a beauty you’ve Become

My long lost Chum!

As a footnote, (great pun…just wait), check out some photos from this Labor Day morning when our farrier worked on the barn gang. Gypsy got two front shoes, one with a pad for some sole-ful healing on her left foot.

As you can see my thumb is working just fine…thumb34

Then…whoa boy! Star had his very first shoeing experience. Another sole-ful foot healing, and as long as he was twitched (most humanely), he was the perfect client.

Right Star? thumb35Said Fred the Bed…from my thumb…to your thumb…♥♥





After 10 days of working with Star, and getting him over his fears and green-colt anxieties about loading in a trailer, we had the best day yet.

Thank you Goddess of Patience! Thank you Blocker Tie Rings! Thank you Janice for leaving your trailer!

Not only did Star load, he stayed. He sniffed. He stuck his head out the side door. He nibbled. He leaned into my fingers at his favorite scratch spots and batted his eyes. He turned his head this way and that. He backed out a few steps, then came forward. Then he stayed again…for awhile.

And then he asked… “Hay girl…where’s the TV?”

I was so happy with this headway (wimpy pun), I promised we’d watch the next Panthers game together.

It was the same feeling I had at age 14, when I won four blue ribbons and then grand champion, in a horse show at summer camp. It was hard work and team effort then, and no less so today. With the same huge feeling of accomplishment.

And trust. Gotta have trust.

Check out the Star-dude…in Photos of the Day…POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_1

Head out da door…four on da floor…


“You coming?”POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_3

“Where’s the TV?”POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_4

“Love my little apartment…where are my slippers?”POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_5

“So when are we going?”

Lookin’ like Turkey Day…you hot-red-headed-turkey-you.

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – STAR TREKS – November 20, 2015

Star Treks; definition

To Boldly Go Where No Horse Has Gone Before…

I’m tellin’ ya…I am wiped out from being a Star Treks groupie.

That horse! We have logged some miles this week.

Once Star and I trekked down together this morning, we had a good, short session. He loaded immediately in the trailer, and then over and over again…so long as there was a grain bucket waiting in the bowels of that cave from hell.

Attitudes flared when there was no food in sight. I decided to end on a good note and return for a different sort of afternoon session, with Recluse Man’s help.

After trekking up first thing this morning to get Star, he and I Star Trekked back down and through the creek, as we passed all kinds of ghosts in the wind and monsters in the creek. After our first session, I decided to leave Star in the lower paddock until session number two. No more Star Trekking! I chained the fence, figuring I’d return in a couple of hours.

I did.

And dang if that horse hadn’t Star Trekked right over the fence and on to higher grounds.

Just as I pulled up, I caught sight of him leading the troops around the very last and highest bend in sight. When I shouted out, he looked my way with his ears pricked, then did a quick 180º (my heart skipped a beat), then did any even faster 180º (my heart thudded), and continued to lead his troops…up.

No doubt with a smirk on his green lips.

Feckin’ trekkin’!!!

Then Recluse Man texted to say he’d be home after dark.

I was bummed. I had really hoped to move Star tomorrow, but I think we need at least one more session before he’ll quietly and fully load.

For Photos of the Day…a look at what Star Treks are all about…POTD_15_11_20_1

I was thinking…hmmm…not high enough to drive…I’ll just do the Star Trek…POTD_15_11_20_2

He made me trek alright…POTD_15_11_20_3

It started out as a quiet descent…we were singing…’Trekking…like the doo-da man…’POTD_15_11_20_4

Peace and Love…from a Star Trekking groupie…POTD_15_11_20_5

…then…Star Trekker snorted…”YIKES!!!…MUST STOP! ..there’s a ghost-dog way up top…”POTD_15_11_20_6

…then later I snorted…”No dude…the Star Trek does not end here…”

We were finally trekking nice and easy through the creek…POTD_15_11_20_8

But on the way out?POTD_15_11_20_8


Star Trekker… “I saw a SHARK…I know I DID!!!”POTD_15_11_20_10

Me…”That was a minnow silly boy…”POTD_15_11_20_11

Check out the Star Trekker stride!!POTD_15_11_20_12

After our session…we parted in peace.

(notice the fence separating Star from his friends and a beckoning trek)POTD_15_11_20_13

They were so far away when I returned, even when I threatened by screaming…


…it seemed Highly Illogical.




PHOTOS OF DAY – STILL THE SAME – November 8, 2015

Recluse Man is in the background making a fuss. He hasn’t seen me all day. Imagine that.

I have to periodically shout at him to HUSH!!!!! It’s POTD TIME….GIT LOST.



We don’t usually shout, but I was so stoked by the Panthers win…no matter how much I love the Packers. Sometimes it feels so good to SHOUT.

And even better? Recluse Man had a roaring fire and delicious pot of soup waiting for me.


I went to Raleigh and back today, to do an annual family portrait shoot for Christmas. I love this family. We’ve been doing this for ten years. At the beginning, there were five in the family…then two spouses were acquired…then two of the cutest grand kids. Also…two generations of dogs. We get serious and then we get silly….wherever we end up.

Today we photographed in downtown Raleigh and after the shoot, I asked my friends to lead me to St Mary’s…my high school alma mater. I forgot how lovely Raleigh can be. Driving through some of the old neighborhoods with such magnificent Victorian architecture, and seeing the new hip spots for coffee and local brew; I felt a twinge of missing city culture. How long is a twinge? Twinge disappeared once I saw the mountains in the distance on I-40.

For Photos of the Day…thanks to Karin who made these photos…here I am exactly 40 years later, at St Mary’s School. I graduated from St Mary’s high school in the class of 1976. I spent  my junior year at another private high school called Stuart Hall, in Staunton, Virginia. The two years prior, at a public high school in Ohio. Collectively you could say, I spent all of my high school years (1972-1976) in total rebellion…trying to escape from wherever I landed.

Looking at these photos you might surmise…I am still trying to escape.

This time I had my car keys in my pocket and no worries about going AWOL.

What’s totally crazy??? I realized I am still wearing the same kinda clothes I wore in high school. Jeans and cotton tops made in India. Some values you never want to escape from…POTD_15_11_08_St_Marys_1

“WOO HOO!!!”POTD_15_11_08_St_Marys_2

“Got me a high school diploma and headed for Player’s Retreat!”POTD_15_11_08_St_Marys_4-1

“Better yet…FOOTBALL ON THE FARM!”POTD_15_11_08_St_Marys_5

(PS… Class of ’76…I never made the Junior League)

PHOTO OF THE DAY – PIG IN A PUDDLE – October 4, 2015

It’s very apparent, after ten days of rain, I am in the late stages of cabin fever. That’s when the hallucinations begin. That’s when I want to do weird things, like make peace with the rain and mud and puddles.

And this is what happens…POTD_10_4_15_1I might as well call this PIG OF THE DAY.

Is he laughing at me?

Is there really a pig in the puddle?

Or is it just me?


Like I said…all I wanted to do was make peace with the puddles…POTD_10_4_15_2

Fred-Locks…or…Recluse Man Gets a Haircut

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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