July 5, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Wildflowers

Our little Flower Girl

With few wildflowers remaining,
I found a couple in my photo collection.

Next year ... I'm going to remember to carry my macro
and not just drive by and say ... ahhhh, how pretty!

Check out Sunday Stills
for some beautiful wildflower shots!

June 28, 2009

Open Bar At The Barn

Click photo to enlarge 
Nord loves room service.
Is that a Martini hose?

June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday To The Best !

Click photo to enlarge
Kirk and Gabe


For years, we've shared the trails and traveled the world.
Wherever we are ... it is the best of times.

I'm grateful for every day and every year
we've shared together.

Happy Birthday to my greatest love
and my perfect friend.

June 10, 2009

Dogs Day At The Beach

Charlie and Katie
... early morning romp.

Humm ... done that,
now what?

Oh yah, it's off to the races ...
gotta clear out those sea gulls

Ok, got that job done.

Now for the traditional
sea weed romp & roll ...

Ummm, yum !!
Yep, it's been a great day at the beach!

May 29, 2009

Royal ... Worry Time, Again

Click photo to enlarge 

Royal With Lots to Think About

If there were a "worry photo" of me right now, it would show someone in the advance stages of "frantic". 

Forgive me if I play out the details of this saga, again, but it has been almost 7 months of walking a tight rope and I'm afraid I'm facing another walk ... on the same rope!

As you know, Royal is still in recovery from serious founder caused by incorrectly administered steroids that he never should have had. My vet was afraid we were going to lose Royal and was making barn calls three times a day.

I told him if we lose Royal ... that would be the end of me, too. He said, he knew that.

The last time I wrote about Royal was last February. Things were looking good. He was calmly cruising the aisles of the barn and barn turnout. His attitude was wonderful, but he was still in confinement.

Now, almost four months later, the situation is the same. The improvement is that his sauntering about is faster and more secure.

The farrier is here every five weeks to adjust his angles and put on new therapy shoes. We are still taking things one inch at a time.

Here is the worry:
Royal is past due for the West Nile vaccine. Much of my research has shown that a compromised horse will likely be thrown into laminitis following this vaccine.

Last April, my vet said not to worry, to go ahead and give him the vaccine.
But this is the same vet that said Royal was Insulin Resistance and that was why he was overweight and had laminitis. (humm ... it was his young associate that gave the steroids). No connection between steroids and laminitis was discussed by anyone, except by me.

I read through various lectures given at veterinary conferences on the subject, as well reading through numerous dissertations written by research veterinarians. The conclusion was, yes, steroids can cause laminitis ... and do.

I printed out my findings and had a discussion with my vet on his next visit.
He said ... "you read too much".
I was shocked.
This is the same vet that has worked with me for over 15 years, that has weathered through many serious situations and always rushed to our barn the minute I called. We've always had both a professional and personal friendship. We were both serious about whatever issues there were. We always ... worked together.

The only difference in the current Royal situation seemed to be ... it was his young vet that gave the steroids. I think he felt a responsibility ... but cannot "go there".

Time proved that Royal's weight was bloating caused by the overdose of steroids, which also caused laminitis. The steroids also threw him into an artificially induced state of insulin resistance.
As the bloating reduced, his blood work returned to normal, as did his body weight. However, we are still living with founder.

Now we have the issue of giving the West Nile vaccine ... while Royal is still in recovery.
The other issue is I'm not trusting my vet. He says ... go ahead, give the vaccine, don't worry.

Well, worry, I do. So, I started doing what I always do ... micro-detailed research.

1. I talked with the Director for Laminitis Research. = Yes, there was high risk of laminitis.
2. Talked to a major breeder and discovered several horses had been given live virus West Nile vaccines and within hours .... had laminitis.
3. Talked with three Equine Pharmacuitical research vets = possible risk.

Finally, on the fourth call to a research vet at a major pharmacuitical company, I got somewhere besides possible and maybe. He wanted all the details about Royal, the how and when and current status.

The bottom line was ... yes, "live" West Nile vaccines have caused laminitis in some situations.
He strongly advised that I wait two more months and give only "killed virus" West Nile vaccine to Royal for the rest of his life. The other choice was ... not giving him any vaccine at all and face the risk of West Nile.

So, that is where we are.
The West Nile "killed virus" vaccine is in the refrigerator waiting.
The time for a decision is here ... and I'm a nervous wreck.

Has anyone been in this situation? I'd be grateful to know your experiences.

May 23, 2009

Sunday Stills - The Color Yellow

Click photos to enlarge

This weeks Sunday Stills Challenge is ...
photos with the color yellow.

This called for my macro lens.
So, off I went to sit in my garden.

Soon, I noticed this very busy bee.
Amazing creature it is from behind the lens.

Next, I wandered by the pond.
At first everything looked white.
Then, with a closer look, there was yellow!

Sure do love life through a macro lens.

Be sure to check all the other "Yellow" photos.
Some great photos!

A Horse In The Garden

Click photo to enlarge

May 19, 2009

Big Ben and Friend

Click photo to enlarge
Just down the road and around the corner

Ben and his little "twinsie" side kick ...
along with assorted others.
It was a fun day when this big boy arrived.
Click here for earlier story.

They do steal the show around the neighborhood.

May 9, 2009

Sunday Stills - Black & White Photography

The Challenge of the Week is Black and White
using two subjects from past Challenges.
Subject One
Animal Husbandry

How great is this ...
Royal is black and white!

He is the love of my life ...

... a big boy, but so very polite.

... his kindness shows
in the softness of his eye.

Always with us, he is such
a wonderful part of our lives.

Subject Two
Religious Architecture

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Believed to be the oldest church
still standing in California,
Mission San Juan Capistrano was
more than two hundred years ago

It is the 7th of 21 missions statewide.

Known as the “Jewel of the Missions"
it is also home to the Swallows
that return to nest
in March of every year.

Located in Southern California very near the Pacific Ocean,
Mission San Juan Capistrano is a place of beauty and tranquillity,

and a wonderful place for
a camera!
Be sure to check out Sunday Stills
for other black and white challenge photos
posted by my camera friends.

May 1, 2009

Hey! Remember Me?

Click to enlarge photos.
Little Rescue Boy

It's been quite awhile since I've updated the progress report on Shadow. Much has happened in his life in the past few months.

He fell in love with Royal, he became Royal's babysitter while Royal was confined with laminitis, he learned that he could be alone without freaking out, which, to me, meant that he had learned to trust us. 

He decided that this was home. He had that "I'm not moving" manner about him.

What he did not learn was to respond to his name. I've never been so ignored by a horse. I'd whisper his name while grooming, I'd call his name while carrying a bucket of feed ... nothing.

I wondered if anyone had ever called him by his name. It was clear that "Shadow" did not associate himself with that name. 

Maybe he had had many names in the past or perhaps he associated the name with how horribly he had been treated in the past. 

I still look at that photograph taken last fall when we rescued him. It remains unbelievable that anyone could treat him so badly.
(Click on "Our Rescue Horse" under Labels for the full story)

Last September

In the early days of this saga, many of you sent some really good suggestions for a new name. However, nothing seemed to fit. Finally I gave up and decided I'd let this boy pick his own new name.

We had many trial runs, but nothing seemed to please him. While working with him I'd usually say things like ... you poor little boy.
Since there were other things to learn, we went on with the business of helping him adjust to life in our barn.

The two horses had never been together... I mean, out of their stalls, together. I knew that day would have to arrive eventually. 

But in the meantime, it seemed safer for both of them to just take turns visiting each other. I didn't want Shadow to be overwhelmed by the Number One horse in the barn, and I didn't want Royal to get into any shuffle matches as he is still in therapy shoes.

I'm really not sure why I decided to take the chance a few weeks ago, but both stall doors were opened. 

I stood back out of the way ready to handle whatever disaster might happen.

This was the scene ... not even the geese ruffled their feathers!

Royal didn't seem to feel the need to puff himself up and parade his authority and Shadow was just grateful to get close to Royal.

That was when I saw the two horses side by side. I'd never thought much about the size difference. There were so many other things to think about.

Looking now at our newcomer, I said ... why, you are just a little Joe.

That was it. Shadow became Little Joe and finally, Little Joey.

What is terrific is ... he likes his name. He'll even come from behind the barn when he hears me call him. Perhaps it is the gentle sound of saying his name, but respond he does.

And as for life with Royal ... why, he can even get close enough to sniff the big guy's royal tail.

How cool is that?
Yep, life is looking good for... Little Joey!

April 26, 2009

Sunday Stills -Flowers

Click to enlarge photo.
Iris from my grandmother's garden
greet me every Spring.
So many memories bloom bringing remembrances
of a little girl with pigtails and freckles

helping her grandmother gather large bouquets.
There were so many iris ... every color of the rainbow.

And now, I gather these blooms from my own garden
while thinking of her and those wonderful times together.
I just discovered Sunday Stills and have had a delightful time
looking at the photos posted by others.
Now I shall add mine to the list.

Thank you, Ed, for being such a great inspiration.
I've finally blown the dust off my camera

April 19, 2009

Single Mom Arrives With 10 Kids

Click photo to enlarge
Arrival and Move In Day

It was Saturday of Easter weekend when we heard the paddle of many little feet.

We were busy digging new drainage lines in the backyard when we looked up just in time to see the arrival of mom and her kids.
She walked with confidence around all the construction and straight to the geese feeder. It was strange how she seemed to know her way around.

My neighbor told me that she saw this young lass come out from under out front yard trees, walk across the front lawn ... with 10 babes in tow. This young mom knew exactly where she was going, which was under our gate, into our backyard ... and home.

Perhaps this young Miss is the one that had been doing frequent "flyovers" and surveillance during the past couple months.

I quickly made a mud puddle, which is amazing in itself, since we were hard at work trying to clear up the mud puddle problem we had during the past rainy season.
Now, I was making puddles for the newcomers.

Amazing how adorable a puddle full of ducklings can be.

It was only a matter of minutes before the pond was theirs.
And it was even less time before we were no longer working, but just sitting around in our chairs watching this adorable line up of ducklings following mom from bushes to feeder to pond ...back and forth all day.

Before long, two male Mallards arrived claiming paternity and residential rights.

I'm told that this is now home for this bunch. And ... that they will return again next year for more breeding, more ducklings and more time on our pond. Let's see ... that would be mom plus her 10 grown up kids.
That makes the possibility of how many ducklings?
Hummm ............
With our two Canada Geese and our own resident ducks, I'm not sure this is going to work out.

Next spring, I think we'll need to make arrows pointing to all the area swimming pools. That just might be a better plan.

In the meantime, we're back to work, but frequently leaning on our shovels still watching the parade.

April 7, 2009

Ain't Love Grand !

Click photos to enlarge
Charlie and Katie's Girlfriend,
Their Vet

There was so much love floating around our house, yesterday.
"The Girlfriend" arrived and Charlie and Katie were beside themselves.
They didn't have a clue that this was health check up day. The minute Dr. Kelly arrived, it was "Me-Me-Me" time.
Katie's tail was wagging like a grandfather clock, and Charlie was immediately ready to have his slobbery tongue examined at close range.
Charlie dragged his toys from the toy box and had them piled all over her lap, especially his huggy baby.
In between examining these two big smoochers, the cats got their chance to have their purrs checked.
Happily, everyone is in great condition, well, ok, maybe a bit overweight, but we'll work on that.

Dr. Kelly has a way of convincing all our creatures that this is nothing but a social call. How lucky we are to have her come to the house.
It's was one of those great "fun was had by all" days. And what peace of mind to know everyone is fine ... and that she is just a phone call away.

March 31, 2009

Charlie's "OH NO" Day!

Click to enlarge

It started like any beautiful sunny day, first the leash, then the ride in the car. Things were looking great.
Then Charlie recognized the parking space, oh yah, been here before! The Vet's Office!!
That is when he flattened himself on the floor of the station wagon. Yep, flat as a pancake.
We looked like abusive parents as we tried to drag Charlie out of the car. We tried treats, we waved his huggy toy around ... nothing worked.
It is nearly impossible to pick up a 100 pound dog that is acting like a complete lug.
Finally, Charlie arrived in the exam room having been drug on his rear in front of dignified poodles, adorable little lap dogs and more than a few arrogant felines.

Charlie was poked and stuck by all the tricks of the trade. He really hates this part.
But we are happy to say ... Charlie is fit as a fiddle.
You should have seen him strut his stuff out of the office. He puffed himself up to his now 105 pounds and trotted his way straight to the car.
The huggy toy was in his mouth all the way home.
I love this boy ... he's such a big baby!

There is a P.S. to this story.
Charlie had a discussion with us about "that vet". Charlie has the ability to sniff out trouble people, and this vet was nothing but trouble. So we took his advice and got a new vet.

She is young and good looking. That Charlie is always thinking!
Now, I keep towels at the ready, since Charlie's "young chick" gets licked from head to toe the minute she arrives.
He's totally in love with her and anything she does is fine with him.

Don't you just love it when things work out.

I'm Ready For My Closeup, Mr.DeMille

Who Is This Guy!

Continuing with answers to your questions:

Honest, he was never in any De Mille movies. And he swears he was not in "Gone With The Wind", either.

However, he was in "Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom".

Again, he says you'll know him.
For this movie, he says they called him "Harrison Ford".
Oh, Geezzz, try living with him ...

March 29, 2009

Who Is That Movie Star ?

Who Is He?

Several people have sent questions over time as to just who is that handsome movie star that snatched me away from my New York career and now kicks dirt around our barn.
I can tell you .... he was and is really something!
The most recent request was from Callie at
Midwest Horse.
Her comment went like this:

"Not you'll ever reveal your hubby's fame, I have a friend who is an absolute old western movie freak! And he is on a mission to figure out who your husband is. Can you give us a clue? Just one movie, he's been in, perhaps? Pretty please?
Now, who could resist such a request?
So, I had a talk with Mr. Hollywood and he said to tell you that every time you see a gun totting cowboy in a movie ... yep, he's the guy.
He's also quite sure you will recognize him. He says his stage name is "Clint Eastwood".
Do you really believe that line?

What movies?
Hummm, he says, maybe "High Noon", or "Magnificent Seven" ... or "Blazing Saddles"!!
And, oh yes, one you've probably never heard of ... "Paint Your Wagon".

But like any good cowboy, "he don't talk much".

March 23, 2009

Nope, Didn't Go Near The Mud Puddles!

Click to enlarge ~ they are a sight!
Those little rascals
"Charlie" and "Katie"

February 16, 2009

Great News and We're Celebrating !

Royal is out of his stall !

It has been a long time since I've given an update on Royal. However, today I finally checked in and saw the wonderful notes you have left for me ... cheering us on!
Thank you so much!

The last time I wrote I was waiting for the arrival of the vet ... and hoping for good news. But things didn't work out that way.

So much has happened since ... but I just couldn't write about it.

My Christmas wish was for Royal to be healthy and happy, again. Unfortunately, everything that could go bad ... did.

However, Valentine's Day was the big day around here. We are celebrating now!

Royal is out of his stall, wandering around the passageway ... and feeling good.

Royal's first steps were slow and easy,
but he was one happy fellow just to be out.

We had to block off the path to the upper hill.
One never knows what ideas a happy horse might have.

And, yes, we were finally able to remove the wooden clogs.

Here is a photo taken from a website
for anyone not familiar with these clogs.

Royal is now wearing therapy shoes, which he seems to think are quite comfortable. The latest x-rays showed things are looking good.
Royal's blood work is perfect, he is not insulin resistant and the laminitis is under control. Finally, the effects of the steroid overdose are believed to be gone. Royal has finally taken a turn for the ... good!

It will be quite awhile before he is romping up and down the hillside, or prancing his way to the arena ... but I fully believe those days are ahead for him.

In the meantime, when it isn't raining, Royal is enjoying every ray of sunshine that comes his way. We're taking it a day at a time and counting our blessings.

Life is looking good and
... I've got my boy back!