Part 2: A blast from the past and the answer to our mystery from history...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It must have been spring cleaning time at the barn, because it wasn't just Sampson and Jackie who were washing up the day we visited (see this post if you missed it). Sandy also raises rabbits, and what I found fascinating was that she said the bunnies roamed loose around the barn.She told me she started out keeping them in hutches, but they kept getting sick and just looked miserable. Somewhere along the line, she got a wild hare (I'm sorry; I just had to do it *grin*) and decided to try turning them out. Everyone's health improved dramatically and they are quite content to stay around the yard; isn't that cool? Needless to say, there are bunnies everywhere. She does sell some as pets - pretty sure she'd be up to her eyeballs in them if she didn't (isn't he just adorable?) Love that floppy little ear ;o) Here's a picture of another bunny who was hanging out inside the barn with Fiona and one of the hens:
Chickens, on the other hand, are not into bunny-style bathing. Nope, they take dirt baths  (really). Has something to do with debugging themselves or some such thing. These chickens are called Dominiques or Domineckers (depending on the vernacular). Seems their official name is Dominique, but like a lot of other words has slowly morphed into something slightly different than where it started :o) In any case, I thought they were kinda cool looking with the hens more black than white and the rooster more white than black. Put 'em together and you have yourself a super-sized pair of salt-n-pepper shakers *laugh*. Mrs. D. scratched a shallow pit in the barn floor, then proceeded to flip herself around in it (and lemme tell you, she sure was fast!) I did notice that the dirt and dust didn't really seem to stick to her; too bad the horses can't do that (ha). Here's a photo of Mr. D. for you:
Of course I loved the little Bantams too; they look like little toy chickens (kind of like going from black-n-white to technicolor, isn't it? ;o) This particular Bantam is called a "BB Red". Isn't he pretty? Oh excuse me SIR, handsome.
Speaking of color, isn't this interesting? These different-colored eggs belong to a pair of Muscovy Ducks (although I'm wondering if that little tiny one in there could be a stowaway - he's quite a bit smaller than the others, don't you think?) Mom and Dad [photo below] apparently decided to go out for a bit of a stroll (guess they figured the kids were old enough to stay by themselves without a babysitter; either that or Fiona was keeping an eye on things while they were out).
The weird brown shapes infringing upon the photo below [left side] are part of a saddle and stirrup leather on Freckles, the horse I was riding. Disclaimer from Sandy: "I did NOT name these horses, they came with lame names but I didn't think it was fair to change it when they already knew their names". I try to adhere to this policy as well, that's why we have a "Lady", a "Champ" and a "Shadow". The only one I have changed, was Maximus, a.k.a. [Mad] Max and that's because he came with the seriously lame name of Bumper, and are you kidding me?? (I mean honestly. It rhymes with "Thumper" the bunny whose best friend was a skunk named "Flower" that...Ugh. Well, nevermind). We'll just say that as our token Quarter Horse, he would never have been able to hold his head up around his herd mates with that name - quite mortifying really ;o)

We didn't do much riding, just some leisurely laps in the round pen before wandering about the yard a bit. I debated whether or not to post any pictures of us, as we are sans headgear (making us not very good role models) and there IS a war going on over the use of helmets. Maybe I won't get blasted out of the blogosphere *wince*. Hopefully, between now and the next time I go back for an actual trail ride I'll be able to get my hands on a decent helmet that actually fits, doesn't weigh a million pounds, and won't cause a heat stroke during the summer in the South (oh, and doesn't cost a fortune either...Yeesh, anything else? ;o)
We stopped to smile at the little bunnies in the hutch that would soon be going to new homes. DD announced that if she goes trail riding with us, it needed to be on something a little bigger than what she got this time (as the smallest and lightest of us, she got pony detail. Rosie was an awesome pony though. If I were six inches shorter I would have ridden her myself).
I've never seen a two-toned bunny rabbit before. Isn't he neat looking? Milk chocolate AND special dark all in one; perfect for an Easter basket *grin*.

Speaking of bunnies, would you believe that's what our mystery photo was? They were less than 24 hours old, and covered up by Mom for protection and warmth. Sandy carefully moved the fur so I could see them. They are so tiny - not to mention all pink. If she had not told me they were rabbits, I would have assumed some sort of rodent (they're blind and bald to boot - wow). I shot a short video clip for you and although it was very dark in the stall where they were, I really did not want to turn on the flash. That's what the green blip is in the video; my camera asking for more light (I said nope, sorry).
It's kind of grainy, but I think you can see them well enough. I was fascinated by the way their wiggling and popping around had such purpose (if you watch carefully, you'll notice that they basically covered themselves right back up). I sort of slapped together a few photos with the clip (shall we call it a bunny blip?) Here you go...Annoying music is optional (hadn't heard Little Bunny Foo-Foo in years *giggle* ;o)

Bunny Blips from Jen on Vimeo.

I'd have to say though, this last little bunny cracked me up; the other rabbits were a little squiggly, but not too bad. This little gal, however, was having none of it. She planted her paws and squealed in righteous indignation at Sandy to put her down RIGHT NOW! This bunch was older (about three weeks I think) and hopping and popping all over one of the other stalls in the barn. Not my best shot, certainly, but don't you just love that furry little face and the teeny tiny teeth? (even if she is seriously peeved ;o)
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

A blast from the past and a mystery from history... Part 1

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Well okay, it was Monday (but doesn't that count?)
When we bought our house (over 20 years ago - and eek) the first person to officially welcome me to the neighborhood was Sandy from "two doors" down. I was hugely pregnant with DD (now in college), and she was just finishing up nursing school. It wasn't long into our initial chat that the subject of horses came up; turned out we'd both collected Breyer Horses growing up and she was every bit (haha) as horse crazy as I was. Of course she actually had real horses to play with, gorgeous Appaloosas to be specific, which [as the official stand-in for the Goodyear Blimp] were temporarily out of the question for me. She turned into one of the best friends I'd ever had, and I was devastated when her husband's company transferred him and they had to move away not long after DD first birthday. She came back for DD's second birthday party and we went to visit them the following year, but eventually life got in the way and we lost touch (this was before the marvelous age of technology and handy sites like PeekYou ;o)
PHOTO: One of my Breyer horses from childhood, the Appaloosa "Stud Spider" (in honor of my long-lost pal and those speckled and freckled four-legged loves of her life).
Fast forward a REALLY long time to about 5 years ago. I started going to that workshop in North Alabama I blogged about last time. We went right past the area she lived in every time we went, but with all those country roads and turns there was no way we could find it by ourselves. Even after the internet became readily available I still couldn't find her. I had long ago lost the solitary letter she wrote me containing her phone number and a Rural Route address. I'd look for her from time to time over the years, but even with Facebook I was coming up empty; until this year that is. For some reason it suddenly occurred to me to Google "Appaloosa Horse" in conjunction with her name and that netted me a two year old ad for a filly she had for sale (complete with an email address - woo!) Thankfully, she'd hung on to that email address even though she no longer used it and answered me a couple of days later. We stopped by to visit on our way back from Talladega, but since DH had to work we kept it pretty short. I found myself agreeing to make the trip back up there for a visit over spring break.
PHOTO: One of my favorite photos of DD as a toddler. She is "holding" Sandy's mane man (affectionately known as Little Man - he lived to be in his mid-20's and passed away only last year).
I am [deliriously] happy to report that my fabulous friend has not changed one iota; she is still a blast to hang out with as much as she was "back in the day". We had the best visit, and it was just plain old FUN hanging out and playing with all her critters (that particular F-word seems to have disappeared from my life recently, somewhere between the medical misadventures and DD's accident).I'm posting some shots from our GPD [Geriatric Play Date] *snicker* ...Enjoy the view!
PHOTO: Sandy has three gorgeous pure white peacocks; Shrek, Fiona, and "Junior" (Junior's gender is yet to be determined). This shot is of Fiona (L) and Junior (R). Aren't they awesome?  
The male, Shrek, was not speaking to anyone at all yesterday; apparently his beak was out of joint over a piece of baling twine, his foot, and some *cough* interfering female who had the audacity to remove it ;o) He stayed up in the rafters and wouldn't even talk to his own family (and isn't that just like a man? *laugh*). I managed to sneak a picture of him for you though...

I've heard of screaming meanies, but I have to admit that the grinning nanny was definitely a new one on me. As you can see by her photo, however, I'm not making it up. It's always nice to see happy animals and it was obvious that the animals all loved Sandy by the way they watched her and/or followed her about. Side Note: If you would like to wake up in the mornings via cardiac arrest, I can personally recommend the Screaming Meanie Alarm Clock. My husband has one, and it is a surefire way to get that ticker moving in a hurry (or stop it all together; stupid thing is loud enough to scare the snot out of the people in the next county)
Sampson, a Great Pyrenees, was a huge hit with DD. He is every bit as handsome on the inside as he is out. For those of you unfamiliar with the breed, these dogs have become extremely popular among livestock owners. They are excellent guard dogs for herds and/or flocks and are quite content to spend their days (and nights) watching over their furry charges. At 11 months, Sampson is still on the puppy side of things, but he seems to have [mostly] grown into his feet :o) What cracked me up though, was his unexpected pasture pal. 
It seems that Sampson's bestest bud is a little donkey named "Jackie Chan". I did a double take and blinked several times before snapping this next photo; Sampson was washing Jackie's neck. The little guy even lowered and tilted his head so the dog could reach it better. I would have said, "Don't forget behind the ears", but I think he already washed there. How funny is that? 
I think I'll save the rest of the pictures for my next post and leave you with our mystery from history photo. Spring has sprung here and everyone is shedding large quantities of hair all over the place. This could just be a ginormous hairball, or it could be something else altogether... What do you think it is?
Oh! Can't forget my sky shot, can I? When I got home, the sun had already set but I did manage to capture this photo with my cell phone camera as I hurried across the pasture to feed. Pretty neat, huh? Gotta love technology ;o)
Have an awesome week everyone!

Busy, dizzy and in a tizzy

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Well....mostly, anyway
The weekend before last I was at a 3-day workshop in Talladega (about 4 hours from here). Hence my delay in posting this week. Not being an idiot and all,  (well, most of the time, that is ;o) I thought it prudent not to actually say anything beforehand; not much of a plan to announce to the world you're leaving town for a few days, don'tcha know. Believe it or not, robbers do the Facebook and Twitter thing; when you think about it, it's probably a pretty good resource for them (yeesh). ANYway, it was an "immersion weekend" which means signing only - no voices allowed. Interpreters in the state of Alabama are required to have 2 ceu's per year (20 hours of continuing eduction), and hitting an Immersion Weekend is the most expedient way to get it done. The downside? Believe it or not, it does not bother me in the slightest to go without using my voice for 3 days straight (the mouth of the south may be closed, but the hands can keep right on yakkin' - Ha. ;o) Nope, the downside is keeping yourself awake when you're going like an educational energizer bunny (e.g. the workshops from 7a.m. until 10p.m. on Saturday). Ugh. Well, that and what I dubbed "Hades Hill". We had to walk up it to get to the afternoon workshop (you can just see the building allllll the way at the top of it (and it is a HIKE, lemme tell ya :oP
One of the workshop presenters was a comedian named Trix Bruce; she was also our entertainment for Saturday night. She's a terrific lady and absolutely brilliant with personification and sign language classifiers (classifiers are the shapes created with the hand that help you "see" the story and really bring it to life). Just as there are great storytellers in the hearing world, so are there in the deaf community. Peter Cook is another awesome comedian/storyteller (he was there last year). I decided to post one of Trix's clips here for you guys to see. My favorite clip was "Campfire", but although it was on the Camping Adventures DVD I bought I didn't see it posted on uTube. She has the clip with the fishing bobber posted though. It doesn't matter if you don't sign, you should be able to follow most of it rather easily as she talks about the fisherman, boat, bobber, worm and fish. Enjoy!

There is a possibility that we have actually [FINALLY] found a truck. Can you believe DD has been without a vehicle since the end of January? Poor kid has had to bum rides from everyone she can (I work 15 miles in the opposite direction and have to leave before she does. To say it has been a hassle is a ridiculous understatement. This truck is a year older (2001), has almost 50,000 more miles on it and costs $800 more than her other truck did. It is also nowhere near as nice inside. It seems that the small pickup trucks are currently selling at a premium. Why oh why couldn't my child get hit by some yoyo in a Hummer with pots of money and a guilty conscience??
Well, I think I'll call it a post. Nice and short this time (shocking, isn't it? *grin*) I sure could use a nap right about now...seems Sarabear could too. How about you? 

Faith, Hope and Charity...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Introducing the next generation
Now that the temperatures have gotten a little warmer (and we've moved the deadly trace block out of range), it was time to make the trip to Pet Smart for another cleaning crew to put in The Girls' trough. It's getting mighty darn dirty in there. I had a little more trouble making my selections this time, as they had just had more fish delivered and there were about a zillion of those little critters flitting around in there. After tracking three supercool looking little fishies in three different tanks until my eyes were crossed, the clerk managed to deftly bag them up and off we went home again. 
Just because I could, I found Dr. Demento's old song "Fishheads" to use for background music *giggle*. For those of you that are culturally deprived and have never heard it, it's one of those songs that transcends the ridiculous, makes you laugh, and sticks in your head worse than any idiotic advertising jingle on the planet (betcha you just can't wait to listen now, right? ;o) Here 'tis:

A little temperature acclimation (about 15-20 minutes), and in they went...Do you see them all? Allow me to introduce you...

We'll start with Faith, shall we? She's a pretty little orange and white Fantail Goldfish, and at the moment only about 3/4 of an inch long (I can hardly believe Larry, Moe and Curly - pudgy little 4.5"+ porkers that they are now - actually started out that size when we got them last summer. Wow). I really liked the way her coloring looked just like a paint horse; I'm sure Taya will be quite pleased (haha). I suppose I should offer a couple of links in here somewhere for anyone else that has horses or livestock and wishes to keep their tanks clean (or just plain 'ol loves the little fishies ;o) The post from last summer is here, and the Squidoo lens that I wrote about using fish as a green solution to a green problem is here.
Here is Faith (R) hanging out with Hope (L):
Hope is a...well, actually I'm not entirely sure WHAT she is other than some type of goldfish, that is. Having gone through the whole pink ribbon/breast cancer thing, I know all too well that in addition to having hope, you have to be pretty doggone tough to get through everything that's thrown at you. Do I need to state the obvious and tell you it's a LOT? Hope looked kind of like a rough and ready biker chick who could kick some serious keister - complete with black leather accents. Then there were those lips, which made me think of the Lifetime movie "Why I Wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy", so she was... well.... um....hmmm. You know what?...never mind. I'll just go with I had to pick her. My brain makes for some pretty strange associations sometimes. If you followed my train of thought easily, you should probably worry a little. (maybe a lot *grin* ).
After hanging out on the ledge for a while, Hope opted to scope out the smorgasbord at the bottom of the tank (it's awfully darn murky and dirty down there...but not for long methinks ;o)

Charity is our little chunky monkey; she's an orange Oranda Goldfish and looks pretty much like two ping-pong balls and a tail that were fused together wriggling around down there. Maybe some kind of aquatic orange snowman. She may look rather bizarre, but that just means she's a good fit for her new home. We're all a little odd around here :o) I'm not quite sure why the Orandas were so much bigger than the others, unless they were just a little older. They are all supposed to max out at about 6". Charity is also pretty darn round in the other direction too. Huh. A pot-bellied fish - who knew? Not me.
It didn't take them very long to find the float; they absolutely love hiding out up under there...Wheeee!
You can see how much I had to zoom in by how big the Rubbermaid stamp is on the float (photo right) for you to get a good look at Faith. I thought I'd go up the hill and get some shots of Larry, Moe and Curly so you could see how big they've gotten. Then I decided to just shoot a little bit of video for you instead. When you consider that I'm standing on the other side of the fence (and they are still pretty easy to see) it should give you a good indication of their size.  Please bear in mind this is NOT a movie masterpiece; we're talking super fast and slightly sloppy with Max and Shadow nudging me through the fence (although I was polite enough to stop filming when I bellowed at Max *laugh*). I just wanted you to see how big they have gotten, and maybe give you a little smile. I figured if I enjoyed watching them swimming around you might too - plus the clouds looked really neat - so here you are:

Larry Moe & Curly from Jen on Vimeo.
We are still looking high and low for an affordable small truck for DD to drive. It's been almost a month with one dead end after another. Pickup trucks are selling at a premium right now (meaning about $2,500 higher than they were 6 months ago) and thank you very much. Most of the trucks we have found that were close to what we could afford have already been sold and the person forgot to delete the ad(s) *sigh*. Most frustrating. We did find this microscopic econo-car that was within our price range, but what on earth would she wear on the other foot?? I always thought roller skates came in pairs, didn't you?
Have a wonderful week everyone! (The bad ones are way too much trouble :o)

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