Thursday, July 19, 2012

July in Photos and a Surprise

Too busy to blog, as usual in the short summers of Grand Ronde, Oregon, so here are photos of some of what's been happening...
One of our Black Oystercatcher sites is at Hart's Cove. Above Johnny stands part way up the long trail-less meadow that must be traversed after the first three miles of steep trail. Below friend Carol, who joined us on the hike last week, celebrates the view at the bottom of the meadow.

A stream crossing on the trip back provides a welcome photo op... and chance to rest.

Friend Michael stands beside a huge Sitka Spruce on one of our more adventurous Black Oystercatcher trail sites shortly after the Hart's Cove hike.

Sometimes we find sea lions instead of Black Oystercatchers.

But, believe it or not, we spend most of our time on the farm, working. This photo was taken on a tansy and bull thistle digging mission. And also searching for Nightingale's grazing muzzle, which she tends to lose frequently. Sometimes I ride Mr. Smith around looking for it. The lovely cinder block building is the well house that started my obsession with split face cinder block foundations on all our buildings.

Once in awhile, I get time to weed the roses, which are lovely in July. This floriferous beauty is Playboy.

And always there's work in the garden: hoeing, weeding, watering...

But then we're off again to the coast... Friend Michael took this one of Johnny and me today as peeping toms, watching Black Oystercatchers on an offshore rock. Johnny is perched on a log. I'm buried in Salal.

Later today Johnny and I hiked Cascade Head but found none of our birds. Our consolation prize was this field of foxglove.

Often the day is crowned with a dramatic summer sunset, as it was this evening... followed by thunder and lightning...

And always the day begins and ends with feeding the horses...

And milking and feeding the goats. Tonight, however, there was a surprise in the goat barn: two, actually. While we were off at the coast, monitoring Black Oystercatchers, Ebony, whom I had forgotten I'd run with the buck for a time, had twins. Fortunately, the doeling and buckling were both fine, fed, and looking like they'd been around for a week. The buckling is fast asleep in this photo, behind his mom and sister. Maybe I should stay home more and watch the calendar?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

And Life Goes On...

In spite of the overwhelming sadness of losing our mare, Polly, life does go on and farm work does not slow down. Last week, two of our fields were cut, raked, and baled for hay. This weekend, we put the bales in the new goat barn, with the hired help of a friend. Johnny loves to hay but has been unable to because of his back problems for years. He had a great time stacking bales on the trailer and in the loft. I took few photos because I was driving the truck and relaying bales off the hay elevator to him in the loft. Johnny raked both fields when our neighbor who cuts and bales for us ran out of time. He loves driving the tractor. Here he is raking one field... at a distance and then closer up.

Neighbor Paul baled, but Johnny walked alongside babysitting the baler and retrieving broken bales. Johnny was ready to get his own equipment and do the haying after the cutting and raking, but the baler problems helped him remember what it was like to deal with a cantankerous baler and decided he'd let Paul continue to do our hay.

Our two sons grew up bucking hay bales but don't seem to have inherited their father's love of the activity. Johnny always invites them but they never seem to be able to visit during haying time. Smart kids.

I didn't get any photos of us picking the bales up out of the field. Here it is stacked inside the new barn. Johnny's roof trusses make stacking a challenge, but he managed, even leaving aisles to holes where we'll throw hay directly into feeders below. The Goat Palace is almost ready for occupancy!

Between haying jobs, Johnny worked on the outside yards for the outside buck and pig pens. Today the goats checked them out since he left the gates to their field open for them to explore the new digs.

When not helping with haying, I keep busy mowing and weeding and watering on these hot days. Thank goodness we are not having the three digit heat that most of the rest of the country is having, but high 80's is too hot for me so I stay indoors during the afternoon hours. By the time shade reached the front of the carriage house yesterday, I took my shovel and attacked the six foot thistles that had come up too close to the concrete for mowing. Hah! Take that you vicious monsters!

This morning, emboldened by my thistle success, I dug out tansy ragwort that has been sneaking back into the horse pasture. Although "pasture" is not quite the right word for the wildflower garden it has become.

Hours later, my electric cart bed filled with tansy ragwort, bull thistles, and scotch broom, I retreated to the cool house... to write this blog.

Of course, we are still spending at least one day a week at the coast, monitoring Black Oystercatcher nests. On Monday of this week, we hit three sites with one still-active nest at each site. That entailed a lot of hiking carrying heavy scopes, but the weather on the coast is about twenty degrees cooler than inland so it was pleasant, if tiring. And the views, as always, were lovely. This was taken from Cascade Head, our last hike of the day, when the fog was just beginning to move in.
There was also the 4th of July barbecue at friends Monica and J.P.'s, ice cream and custard making (and eating) with all our extra milk, hoeing and weeding and watering the garden, eating our home-grown artichokes and papayas, working in the greenhouse and arboretum, trimming hooves... and on and on. Summer activities are endless. I've been so busy I've only checked the trail cameras once in two weeks. The fawns are growing... like bad weeds, my mother would say. Awfully cute weeds. The twins are photo left. Split ear and her fawn, the first born on our farm this year and now losing those spots, are photo right and video here:

And so... life goes on. Sometimes sadder, but with still so much to enjoy. Link

Friday, July 6, 2012

Polly 5/6/1979 - 7/6/2012

Renwood Pollianne, American Morgan Horse Register #088845, known to us as Polly, died this morning of a twisted intestine, almost the first ailment she has ever had. She had eaten all her feed the night before, had several recent manure piles this morning, but was down and in pain when I came out at 7 to feed. She died before the vet could arrive. We are all in shock. Mr. Smith, her beloved companion ever since Polly came here when she was 18, her daughter Jessie Anne, and her granddaughter Nightingale, have been calling and calling for her, even though they witnessed everything, including her burial in the horse field. They all stayed with her until her grave was covered with dirt. They couldn't seem to believe she was really gone. Nor can I.

This is the most recent photo I have of Polly, taken in May, in the fly mask behind her beloved Mr. Smith. I wish I'd taken one with her coat fully shed out. She was sleek and in good shape. No one could believe she was 33.

For Polly's life story and photos, see my blog entry: Happy Birthday, Polly! written last year on her 32nd birthday.

More photos from Polly's life with us...

January of this year.... Polly is second from the left, looking at the camera

July of last year, giving Ian a ride...
and teaching him to steer... Here they are leading Mr. Smith and I in follow-the-leader

March of last year (2011)... from my blog: "Polly, our Morgan mare turning 32 in April, was the highlight of the visit for the grandchildren of our friends and neighbors, the Werths. The littlest one, age 2 1/2, had to be pulled kicking and screaming off the horse. Polly just kept on grazing. She has had many, many children on her back in her lifetime... probably helping to create several more generations of horse-crazy adults."

In July, 2010, Polly dressed in her fly sheet, which Mr. Smith found threatening... we had to take the sheet off Polly.

Here she is again with another first-time-on-a-horse young friend, July 2010:

Happily, muddily, grazing with her herd in April, 2010...

And with her daughter and granddaughter in August 2009...

With Johnny, same year, age 30

Giving my Japanese sister Yoko a ride in 2007

And one of our favorite shots is of Polly examining the trail camera last year to make sure it was safe for her herd to pass. It passed inspection and she led them by.

Here she is in 1999 with her palomino daughter Jessie Anne, on the day Jessie Anne was born. Polly was a wonderful mother and a wonderful horse. We are fortunate to have had her in our family for so many years. To say we will miss her is a huge understatement.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lientje Schueler Dressage Clinic

Once again, I headed north last Friday to have fun with grandson Ian and to attend a dressage clinic at Traumhof, this time with Lientje Schueler. She is assistant trainer at Steffen and Shannon Peters' dressage barn in California. Although Steffen and Shannon each normally clinic at Traumhof during the year, the Olympics are keeping Steffen busy in London and Shannon busy in California, so they suggested having Lientje clinic this summer and fall. She came this past weekend and was wonderful and will be giving monthly clinics at Traumhof beginning in September.

Naturally, Lientje has the same objectives in teaching and training as Steffen although they phrase things somewhat differently. I liked Lientje's explanations of why she was asking a rider to flex to the outside on a circle or tap the inside shoulder or whatever it was she was asking the rider to do. Although one of the riders spoke to her in German, Lientje thoughtfully replied in English so the spectators, most of whom did not speak German, could understand what she was explaining to the rider. Lientje clinics most weekends around the country and the world... Australia is a regular destination... when she does not have shows. She obviously wants to help the auditors as well as the riders learn. She has an incredible eye and could see immediately what problems the horse and rider pairs had and what needed to be worked on first to reach the riders' goals. Here Lientje is directing Nicki Grandia, Traumhof trainer, on Elisienne (Lily), Jessica's beautiful Grand Prix mare.

Nicki also rode a black stallion she is training for another client. He was working on flying changes and made quite an improvement from the first day to the second. What a handsome guy.

After the clinic Saturday night, we feasted on a wonderful dinner delivered from a Mediterranean restaurant nearby. I wish I had taken photos of the many flowering hanging baskets and beautiful trees and lawn that border the huge patio between barn and arena where we dined. What a lovely place Traumhof has become. I remember when Kevin and Jessica and Ian moved there, before the new barn or the arena were built or the grounds were landscaped, before there were any paddocks. It is incredible how much they have accomplished. Next time, I'll take photos of something besides horses! I was too busy enjoying myself to think about it. I did snap a few in front of their house just before I left for home Sunday afternoon.

After Saturday's dinner, Jessica turned the barn mascot, Penny Pony, out into the arena where she raced and raced up and down. When Penny is tired of running, she rolls in the sandy arena, then walks up to Jessica to have her halter put back on. I quit filming before she quit running. Here are two of the youngest auditors walking Penny to cool her out after her run. Video of Penny's play time is on youtube.

Alas, I have no photos of my growing grandson from this weekend. Ian, as usual at Traumhof clinics, spent both days operating the concession stand. I'll make up for that lack of photos when he spends a week with us this summer. We did find time to play a board game and a few games on his XBox. Happily for me, Ian is becoming interested in birds and showed me where Red-breasted Sapsuckers like to make holes in the patio area trees. Sure enough, a female Sapsucker was busily tending her sap wells with horses and people roaming close by. I never would have seen her without Ian pointing her out to me. I can't wait to take him Black Oystercatcher monitoring!