Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday 27 September 2008

No picture today I am afraid, just a quick note to say that my brother called me early hours of this morning to tell me that Dad had passed away. I am a bit numb still, just can't handle the fact that I couldn't be there.

Hope you all have a good weekend and I will be back. ((((Hugs))))


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday 25 September 2008

I mentioned the dead skunk and buzzards in the field yesterday and have edited a few of the pictures. The first on shows how close the horses got to the birds. The skunk was just out of frame on the right about midway up the side of the photo. Despite its really bad smell the horses seemed to be unphased.
I didnt get any shots of the birds on the skunk s this was the closest I got to getting a bird in the vicinity of the animal, I am not going to post the closeups of the little guy (as smelly as he was) because it is a bit gory.
When I started moving around the buzzards started getting wary and sat on the electric posts and flew around and I was lucky to catch this shot. I wasnt using my 70-200 2.8 lens which is super fast with it's focusing, but used my Tokina 80-400 instead which I love and have been using for years despite having to be careful that it takes soft pictures if I zoom it all the way in. I normally have to back it off a bit before I shoot so probably shoot at 350mm or thereabouts. It is a slow focuser unfortunately, but I got a few useable shots I think.

Nothing much happening today, I worked on orders and stock images for the magazine, still lots more editing to do, it just never ends. I want to ride Lori tomorrow and take her out trail riding this weekend if possible but I havent ridden her in nearly a year so it should be interesting, she is not as calm as Cayenne LOL. I will see how it pans out tomorrow whether I take her, Cayenne or Wiggle.

My Dad is having good days where he recognises everyone and is awake and then other days where he is in that comatose state. My brother is trying to get a landline number for me so that I can maybe call him on that and have more success than I have been having with calling their cell phones to try to talk to him.

The waiting and not knowing is very hard.

Well that's about it for today, I will try to catch up on my blog reading tomorrow a bit, thanks all for your visits and messages they are really appreciated. (((Hugs))))


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday 24 September 2008

This is a picture of my mare Lori which I took yesterday while walking down to get the mail. We are still dry dry dry. Since our last significant rainfall which was only about 2 inches about 8 weeks ago we have only had half an inch even with all the hurricanes and cyclones, it just seems to skim past us. You can see from this picture how dry the field is, this is the one that we reseeded. I know I am going to hate the mud when it comes but we could have 6 inches and it wouldnt stand in puddles because the cracks in the ground are so deep. This was the next shot with Wiggle in it too, they are looking so well, but if you look at the larger versions you will see spots all over their faces, that is the flies, there is no stopping them. The only positive in all this that I can think of LOL (and I am sure there are more) is that we have had very little mosquito activity!!
I have put these two into the newly planted field, which did grow and reseed fortunately before the rain stopped so hopefully that will all spring up at the first sign of rain or in the spring. I have only put them out here because it is so dry and it helps with the stable maintenance, that is not having as many stalls to clean. The temps have been beautiful in the mornings, 50s and the evenings have topped out in the low 80s for the most part so it is really comfortable.

I found a dead skunk down in the other field yesterday too, right slap bang in the middle of it so have no idea what happened to the little guy, can see no marks or anything, but boy does he stink. I was going to try to move it but it is far enough away to not affect us here and the buzzards moved in and now it stinks even worse so I dont think I could bear to get anywhere near it. I got some shots of the buzzards but they were pretty far away, I will edit a few and post them if they are any good. Of course I had to take a few shots of the skunk too, yuk!

Every day I regret not taking advantage of the beautiful weather to ride while I can but I am getting better and with Larry bringing in some help to do the manual stuff and help with the stalls it feels like a tonne has been lifted from my shoulders. I am just finding that I am really tired all the time and more often than not have to lay down in the afternoon then end up sleeping for two hours and again regretting the waste of time. Despite that I feel a lot better than I have in recent months so hopefully this will all pass and I will get back to enjoying my beautiful horses.

I am starting to get more worried as I have had no news of my Dad since my brother went back to Johannesburg. I am going to try to phone again tomorrow, but will call the landline, I should have more success getting through that way rather than trying to call their cell phones.

Hope everyone is well and having a good week. I have so many pictures I want to edit for stock, orders and personal reasons and just am not getting ahead with it, suppose I should stop sleeping in the afternoon LOL. (((Hugs)))))


Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday 22 September 2008

I intended to go riding on Saturday morning and getting to the campgrounds before 10am which is when they normally go out on their day ride which can be for 5 or 6 hours. Well disaster from the beginning, my van that I was towing the trailer with was missing on two cylinders, then I had to get plates for the trailer, and I had forgotten to pick up supplies at the pharmacy that Larry really needed badly the day before, so before I knew it it was lunch time and I still wasn't hitched up and ready to go.

Larry suggested that I went up that evening and slept over, I have an air mattress that fits into the van nicely and it is pretty comfortable and I dont mind roughing it, so that is what I did.

Cayenne was a star again, I still can't get over how relaxed she is and how she appears to have been doing this all her life, even though she is only 4 years old she is awesome and doesnt bat an eyelid at anything. She loves the river and walking through it, is not so fussy about the mud although there isnt much mud at the moment on the trails because we just havent had any rain in northern and central Indiana. It is crazy, north of twon they have had three times as much rainfall than we have had 1 mile south of town, it just always seems to slip past us. My poor pasture is as dry as a bone. She also hasnt spooked or flinched at anything she has encountered on the trails, she loves it, you can see that from the way she just wants to keep going, no standing around, lets go LOL!!!

We stop at natural corrals at certain points where the members have built areas that they can tie the horses so they can dismount, relax and rest the horses, so it is not all spent riding.

I am trying to catch up on my last few print orders so I am going to make this short. The picture today is of the one couples' two horses that ride there most weekends as well, they have 3 there, having a playful moment.

No news on my Dad, so I am getting worried again that we are not getting the feedback from the nursing facility. Hope you all had a great weekend, ((((Hugs))))) thanks for all your visits.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday 18 September 2008

Another quickie tonight (although I always seem to get long winded LOL). The picture today is from the campfire at the trail riding camp I went on over Labor Day weekend. They had this cauldron hanging over the fire filled with water and corn which was delicious!!! It was already getting quite dark but I loved the effect of the steam and the flames so snapped off a few frames.
My brother has had to go back to Johannesburg because of work commitments, but my Dad is safely installed in a nursing facility and I am going to be getting a daily update from my brother as he hears what is happening.

The move yesterday was traumatic for Dad and they have finally started giving him pain medication and tranquilisers. I am praying that it will be quick now, I watched my Mom go through months of extreme pain and I dont want him to have to endure the same. He is a little bit more aware of what is going on around him but as I have said before, it is just a waiting game and I hope that he goes as peacefully as possible. I just wish I could be there.

I have been in contact with my estranged daughter in England and we have made the first move towards what I am hoping can be a reconciliation between the two of us. At least she is talking to me!!!! We were brought up to be tough and to be survivors in Africa during the war times, had to face things that people here can't imagine at very young ages so I know she has been able to keep herself on top of things, she is tough. She is trying to get Emergency Travel Documents to go and see Dad but her passport is still with the Home Affairs in England for her Naturalisation application and we don't know if we will be able to get it back in time.

Annette it is great to see you posting, now we need you to start your own blog, recording your journey with Dreamer. I am so glad that you liked him so well, he couldnt have gone to a better home and I am looking forward to seeing the two of you competing next year, I think you may kick some butt LOL. He is going to be one of those horses that bulks up in his third or fourth year and then they become tanks and I am sure the supplements you are giving him will help him on his way. He is a lucky boy.

Gecko thanks for all your messages. There is no hope of a recovery for my Dad, he is too far along and the cancer has spread to his brain which is why he is having his lucid and comatose type states, with the pressure on his brain. It has been quite quick and as far as I know he has had no other problems until this hit last week. They are unsure where the cancer started but wherever it did it wasnt showing itself until it was this far along.

Lisa welcome back girl!!! Loved your photos, you have been a busy bee!!!!

Have a great Friday everyone, hopefully I will have more news tomorrow. I am planning on taking Cayenne trail riding on Saturday or Sunday but it will depend on what else transpires before then. ((((Hugs))))


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Sorry guys, more bird pictures today. I have done very little on the horse front but do need to update you on the happenings of the weekend.

The show was not a great success, even though the halter classes were held indoors because it was a bit mushy in the outdoor arena but the footing would have been perfect for the mounted classes, but it seems the judges wanted to stay under cover, so I had to shooot the whole show with flash in an open sided arena. The one short side is not open but has skylight panels in it to let light in so it plays havoc with my flash. I avoid shooting in these conditions because I dont feel confident in my ability, so as a result, I shot the least number of photos that I have at any horse show LOL. What I did get are okay but certainly not poster material. Larry should have the gallery up in the next day or so on my website so you can judge for yourselves LOL. I am super critical when it comes to my photography and giving my clients what they are paying for.

Drew had Dream there again and he showed him in three classes, the last one on Sunday was a mounted class with just walk and trot for Amature horses. The turnout wasnt as good as we had hoped because of the threat of bad weather all weekend, I think it kept people at home (we were lucky it was fantastic right up until the show had just finished then the winds hit and tornados started, nothing too close to us fortunately. We just caught the edge of it thank heavens and by the time we were home the winds had already died down. We only got half an inch of rain on Friday night and that is all. The down side is that the classes went much quicker than anticipated and Drew found himself with about 5 minutes to warm him up and take him into the arena for his first riding class. He was a bit worried about the people around the arena but is used to being indoors as they have an indoor arena at home. So he didnt blaze any trails but the experience was worth more than anything else.

I rode Dream again but this time in the big outdoor arena, his first experience in a big outdoor arena with other horses which is where everyone was warming their horses up, and he is so sweet and I know is going to go on to bigger things in the Hunter Under Saddle or Trail Classes. We found a buyer for him too!!! Annette who you have met often on my blog has had to retire her horse Cody because of health issues and he is going to live out his life as a happy much loved horse, but Annette needed something else and wanted a change from the Saddle bred type of riding so she made us an offer and we have accepted it and he is off to a wonderful new home. They will have him gelded and I can't wait to see what he turns out like next year. He is still only 2 years old and will only really finish growing and developing when he is 4. He has a beautiful quiet temperament and is willing and clever. I havent edited any of the photos but will post some when I have, I promised Drew some pics too, but life sometimes just gets in the way, so Drew if you are reading this I am sorry!!! I have Annettes photos, got them in the mail today and maybe I will have to come and bring Dosies papers, the photos and finally get to visit personally.

Well that's about it. Larry has had a young man coming in every day for about 5 hours and he has caught up on all the heavy work and fixing and cleaning of the barn for me which has given me time to just get on with other stuff that is getting behind and it is such a relief not to have to worry about those things anymore.

I am hoping to take Cayenne trail riding o Saturday, and on Sunday there is another open show nearby which we want to take BB to, we didnt get her to the show this past weekend which was a big dissappointment, she is looking awesome. I just ran out of time again.

(((((Hugs))))) everyone.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday 15th September 2008

Just a quickie tonight, thanks everyone for your prayers. Dad is most of the time in a very deep sleep and rarely rouses, doesnt recognise anyone and we still have to play the waiting game. He is on no medications, doesnt have any pain it appears, but I dont think he will come out of this it is just a matter of time and hopefully he will slip away quietly.

Mike it is ironic but our weather has been the exact opposite of yours, we had half an inch over the weekend otherwise nothing for about 6 weeks. I will try to catch up on everyone soon (yeah yeah I know I keep saying that, but heck one day maybe it will happen and you will all be pleasantly surprised)

Today's picture was taken while I was living in London, it was a particularly colorful doorway and just caught my eye, I was archiving the other day and found these and thought we could all do with a bit of brightness n our lives so here it is.

I will try to keep you updated, my brother has been fantastic in keeping me up to date via e-mail a couple of times a day. (((((Hugs)))))


Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday 12 September 2008

This is the last photo I have of my Dad when he visited me in Johannesburg just before I left for England over 9 years ago and this is also the last time I saw him. I set the camera on a tripod with self timer to get it LOL

Things are not looking good, he rallied a bit today and my brother is trying to get all the options for his care once he leaves the hospital. He is still being fed with a feeding tube but has lucid moments. The doctor says that he will have good periods and bad periods because of the cancer swelling on the brain and that he will probably succumb to that, it is just a waiting game now. I am trying to get a phone number for where he is and hopefully if he is lucid enough I will be able to talk to him briefly, my brother is trying to arrange that.

Not much else to report. We will not be taking BB to the show, I have been so out of it the past 2 days and I havent finished getting her clipped and cleaned. It started raining today, we didnt have much and there could be more on the way, Sunday is expected to be very wet (thanks to Hurricane Ike) so it looks as if the horse show will be under cover of a roof which makes shooting pictures really hard. The outside ones always look better than the indoor ones taken with flash.

Hope you all have a great weekend, I will try to check in on Saturday evening and make a post but am not sure how late the show will go on.

For all of you in the danger areas of Ike take care and lets hope it isn't as bad as they are predicting, just stay safe.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday 11th September 2008

I have been in a bit of a daze all day today, didnt sleep well last night which didnt help. I stayed near the phone and computer and got an update from my brother eventually at about 8pm their time 1pm our time. The Scan indicates that my Dad has Brain Cancer, they are not sure where it started from but it is very advanced and they are not going to try any treatments because there is little hope. I am devastated, he was always such a healthy fit man a great husband and a good father, he deserves better than this. I also feel guilty because I am not there then I feel that at least I will remember him as he was 7 years ago when I last saw him and not as he must be now. I will know more tomorrow, my brother has a meeting at 9am tomorrow morning with the doctors again (2am here) so I am dreading turning on my computer or receiving a phone call.

Fugazi, Mike, photogchic and CG thanks for your messages, your words are appreciated more than you can imagine. I feel so alone here separated from all of this by such a distance and dont really have anyone really close to me to endure this with other than Larry who never knew him.

(click on pics to enlarge)
I fiddled with my camera a bit today while in my daze and tried my 2x converter on mt 70-200 2.8 lens on my bird feeder. It was a bit dull and overcast but these are some that I came up with, above one of the few occasions that I have seen a hummingbird come to rest although they say that they do spend about 80% of their time perched, the rest eating, nectar for their fuel and insects for their survival.
The little hornets or wasps or whatever they are above, we call them yellow jackets and they always come out in droves during fruit season because they feed on the fallen and bruised fruit around the trees on the ground. These little guys are about half an inch long but they pack a huge punch if they sting you, very painful and lots of swelling, and they are very aggressive, they spent the whole day chasing all the birds away from the feeder, not just the nectar for the hummingbirds but from all the seed holders too. I hope they dissappear soon because they are a real pest.
I am not sure what this bird is, I have had a lot of them hanging around along with a woodpecker. At first I thought they might be Bluejays that had lost their colored feathers, but I am not sure.

That's all I have for you today guys, hope you all have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend, we might see some much needed rain at last so we are hoping that it happens. The ground is so dry that I can run the garden hose in the cracks and they never fill up, the water just dissappears so I know we will need a few inches at least to make any impact. ((((Hugs)))) and thanks again


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Here are a couple of pics from my trail riding expedition, this is Stan on Boo, one of the first fillies that I bred and one of the three babies he has bought from us. She was the horse I rode all weekend, she is a little tyrant OL but I love her, she is a stocky, strong sturdy mount and has a huge heart.

This is Shami, she was 10 weeks old on that weekend and is a little ball of fluff, here she is hiding under one of the camp chairs with a piece of hoof trimmings, which for some reason dogs love to chew.
This is Valerie laying on a bench and Shami decided her long hair would make a wonderful toy thing.
Finally this is Kami, Val and Stan's daughter riding a friend's horse with the little girl of the guy who runs the camp and is head of the committee. They had a little contesting competition on Saturday evening. It was terribly dusty and it was blowing straight at where I was taking the photos from so I didnt get that many but here they are doing the barrel racing.
I had some disturbing news today from my brother in South Africa, my Dad has been admitted to hospital and it looks as if we may lose him. My brother is flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town tomorrow morning and hopefully he will give me more details then. I feel so helpless so far away, it is an impossibility for me to even think of going there to be with them because the air fare is ludicrous. He has just turned 78 and always led a healthy life, playing lots of sports which included running, cycling, soccer, cricket and everything in between. Please keep him in your prayers tonight, I havent seen him since just before I left South Africa and that is over 7 years ago.

(((((Hugs)))))) everyone.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

8 September 2008

I am getting further and further behind and if there is still anyone out there I will try to give a "brief" account of the happenings of the past two weeks, nearly 3 weeks.

I can't remember if I told you that I dropped my 80-200 2.8 canon lens (very expensive lens, enuff said!) For some reason that day I had put a clear filter on the front of the lens, which a lot of photographers do to protect the actual glass of the lens. If I hadn't had that on I would have smashed the actual lens as it landed on the rim of the lens and is a pretty heavy little baby. The filter smashed and bent the outside edge badly. We managed to get the filter off eventually and thank heavens the lens itself seems to be unaffected. I was mortified.

I have been busy getting my print orders up to date and getting stock submitted and preparing a portfolio and bio for a new website which I am going to be a part of. It is a lot of work but I have a good feeling that this will really be a good move for me and I am getting fantastic support and motivation from the people involved. More later on that when it is all official.

My health has been suffering (stress and depression) really badly as well and I got to the stage of self destruct just before last weekend, which was labor day weekend. I decided to take me and my van and an air matress and camera and computer and go trail riding for three days with friends. This is the first time that I have really ever taken time for myself in a long time and I enjoyed it tremendously. I rode every day, and actually rode one of the fillies that I bred. We had long rides, 5 to 6 hours at a time.

There are natural corrals in the forest made out of smaller trees that have fallen (they are very big into preserving the natural habitat in the forest, keeping to the trails and leaving any downed trees where they fall, if they are too high to step over they will just cut a section out of the tree which crosses the trail and leave it where it lays) so we had a few places in the forest where there are natural springs and shade etc. to rest the horses while we all just relax and chat.

Unfortunately the time off came with the price of having to catch up again when I got home. As it was a holiday weekend I couldnt take any of my own horses to the camp as it is a club and they limit the horses and rigs to members only at those times. It was packed to capacity needless to say. It was nice to see so many families out having a good time with their horses, which were in great condition (with one or two exceptions of course). We were camped right next to a large Amish group who had two trailers and 12 horses between them, and I was really impressed with their work ethic and how meticulous they were with their care of their animals and their camp. I was quite sad to leave on Monday evening. I took some pics while I was there but still havent edited many of them.

Since then it has been as hot as Hades, and on Tuesday morning I got a call from the lady who owns the pasture down the road where our 4 mares are. They have a 4 rail vinyl fence around the field but they are right on a very busy state road. We have had no rain for weeks and everything is turning brown and there is very little for them to eat in the pasture so they have been trying to get to the green grass on the other side of the fence. Of course they are big creatures and once they push hard enough the bar will bend enough to pop it out. They had two of the panels out already.

I couldnt take a chance of them doing it again, because once they have done it once they will certainly do it again and I dont want horses on a busy road to deal with so I had to arrange for poor Stan to haul his trailer over and help me load them up and bring them home. I was hoping to be able to leave them there until at least November, I had been subsidising with a bit of hay. We had 2 tenths of an inch of rain day before yesterday and that is all we got from the first hurricane, dont know if the others will push some rain up our way but we need it desperately.

We were going to try to take our blue roan mare BB to an open show on Sunday but I have never fitted a horse for Halter and just didnt get finished, we left everything til the last minute of course. I still have to finish trimming and braiding her mane, clipping the inside of one ear and a bit on her legs too and then give her a bath. We will definitely be taking her to the show next weekend though. She had shoes put on early Sunday morning so at least that is done.

I set up my bird feeder with the help of Larry and the young man who is helping us out with the chores that I just cant and dont want to do. I have hung all sorts of feeders on it as it has 5 hooks on it and they have started using it yesterday. I have a woodpecker, a golden Finch or two and some others I dont know what they are, some are losing their colored feathers in preparation for winter already. I had it set up as close to the bathroom window as I could but very high and out of the cat's reach but it gives me a perfect position to shoot from the bathroom. Today's photos are a few from this venture. I will post more daily even if I dont type anything I will try to post a picture at least.

((((Hugs)))))) to you all, if you are still coming to visit you need a medal LOL.



9 April 2017 - Bread Making

One of my foals taken many years ago in my barn in the winter sunlight I made a discovery at the local Charity shop (where you can buy se...