Sunday, December 30, 2012

Morning Light

Golden light shines through the crack in the sky.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cold Moon

Playing with the new camera - the last photo was taken on the "sunset" setting.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Guard Duty

Jesse, on his hill, surveying his kingdom. From here he has a view down the road, over part of the pasture, and of both entrances to the house. It is his self-appointed task to keep the area in front of the house safe. He checks out the draft horses in the far pasture several times a day as well.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The River

Visiting my friends on the Cowlitz River is always a joy, with good companionship and a lovely, wildlife-filled view.

This group of Goldeneye Ducks kept flying upriver and floating back down. The area in front of the house seems to be desirable, but the current is very strong and the ducks get whisked downstream.

A group of Canada geese were also hanging about. They seem slightly less affected by the current. I haven't figured out how to get my new camera to focus on what I want, so please forgive the fuzziness.

Cleaning fish (yum!) - trout today. The winds have blown this moss into some beautiful patterns. It is everywhere, this close to the river.

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Camera

My beloved Canon Powershot has been limping along for about a year, and finally died of lens errors. The little substitute I borrowed has also died of unknown causes. I didn't realize how much I missed having a camera until my new one arrived yesterday.

This is looking towards Mt. St. Helens at full zoom (the mountain itself is behind clouds). Not bad for straight out of the box on auto mode. I haven't read any instructions yet. 

Zander willingly posed for a close up. 

I'm so excited! It would be lovely if the clouds lifted so I could get some mountain shots, but there are plenty of small treasures to practice on. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Morning Mirage

It poured rain all night, but when I opened the door early this morning I saw stars piercing a clear, dark sky. That did not explain the rain still splashing in puddles. I decided not to look out the other side of the house for awhile. I liked this door into clearing.

As the sky lightened, the rain stopped and the clouds withdrew further, leaving paw prints in their wake. 

The valley was filled with fog. As I stood on the porch it felt like I was overlooking a large lake, or a new inlet to Puget Sound. Momentary magic, I temporarily lived on the water, as well as in the mountains.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I love having ducks. When it is windy and the rain feels like it came from a fire hose, everyone on the farm looks miserable and heads for shelter - except the ducks. Even the geese seem overwhelmed by the rain, but not the ducks. The ducks run from puddle to puddle, stream to new stream, delighting in the amount of water on the ground. They dabble in the mud and sieve food from runoff. Life doesn't get any better than this. My ducks are happy.

It isn't just my ducks, either. A local farmer's grassy fields are half covered with new ponds - and those ponds are inhabited by wild ducks. I counted 7 of them. Opportunists.

It gives me another perspective on life. What's unpleasant for one is a delight for another. We are all different, and our opinions are all valid. I may not like being out in driving rain, but the ducks love it. I celebrate these differences, and give thanks to the ducks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

After the Storm

There are still stars!
There's still a moon!
They have not blown away.
Perhaps there may still be a sun
That we will see again,
Some day.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thursday, November 01, 2012

November Sky

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The rains have come, the ground is wet. It's a good thing there are chairs outside, so Zander can sit outside the window guarding both house and territory without getting his butt wet.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Charlie enthusiastically defends his food from sheep, alpaca, horses...everyone, it seems, except kittens.

These feral kittens just got a dish of their own food, but obviously Charlie's is far superior to theirs.

It took them some time to sneak up and around him to get to the food. He studiously looked away. Whatever made these little tykes decide it might be safe to steal food from a very large dog?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Charlie's Day

Charlie's best friend came to visit today. Ken is the only one who can get Charlie to stay still long enough for me to do significant grooming, and today was better than usual. Charlie laid between us getting loves on one side and pulls on the other. 

He stayed still long enough that I got about half of him brushed out, and generated a huge pile of dog hair.

If I could only sell it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The End of Summer

We have had three rain-free months of blue skies and warm sunshine. Dry ground, dry house, dry roof. That would seem to be plenty of time to clean out gutters.

So why have I been out today cleaning the front gutter of my house in between rain squalls? Downpours. Out scraping mud, muck and feathers out of a very wet gutter? Off a very wet roof. In the rain.

Pulling up a long, heavy, muddy ladder, securing it into softening clay. Moving it to the next uneven, muddy spot.

Attempting now to type with hands that only seem loosely related to the rest of my body, they are so cold from being wet and muddy for hours.

And whose fault is this?


Zander, who is even more annoyed at the onset of rain than I am, spent the time on the front porch, watching to make sure I stayed safe from the roof monsters. The Peahen flew up to the peak of the roof to watch.

And there is a truly amazing moss garden growing up there. Beautiful, lush, growth with a wide variety of species, growing on the shingles, the metal, under the eaves. And I only have 7 more gutters to go.

I must admit that I spent a good deal of the time up there being grateful for my one-story home.

So, how was your day?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Berry Time

The blackberries have had another great growing year, and I've spent plenty of time trying to re-establish a boundary - basically taking clippers out and hunting for my fencing.

I was just about to cut off one vine when I noticed it was inhabited.

This lovely Orb Weaver was patiently waiting for me to go away. A quick google search told me these spiders are most active at night, when they eat lots and lots of mosquitos. Welcome to my farm.

Marjay came by to help me by picking the ripe berries I was uncovering. Well, the ones I didn't get to first. That's the bright side of berry control.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Harvest Moon

The rising Harvest Moon - such a glorious sight. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Moon Glow

As the sun started to set the moon lit up a bright red-gold. The lower the sun sunk the brighter the moon grew. Half a moon, shining brightly in the darkening sky.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Night Sky

The wind has blown through the stars, leaving long streaks of glowing dust lighting the blue-black sky. Bright stars, shining dust, dark space. The world is a magical, wonderful place.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Smokey Sunrise

The weather continues warm and sunny into September, with clear skies and cool nights. The sky is, however, smokey as winds move air across the mountains. Like so many areas Eastern Washington is suffering wildfires.  

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Change The World

To change the world, change yourself. Be what you want to see in the world.

This story shows the truth of that sentiment. How important is a smile?

A friend of mine works at a large hospital. Every day she drives past the valet parking, and a young attendant with a perpetual frown. One day my friend stopped and said, "Hello Sunshine!" She did this daily, and eventually received a smile in return. Over time they talked, and developed a casual friendship. The attendant has 5 kids, and lives with her mom. As school was about to start, my friend bought some pens, paper, and some fun back-to-school supplies for the kids. Her new friend was overwhelmed with the gift and broke into tears. "No crying - we both have to work!" my friend said through her tears.

My friend works for the head of Oncology Nursing. One day at a meeting one of the doctors said, "Hey, you know, one of the parking attendants has really changed. She's become so friendly, patients are noticing and feeling special because of her treatment."

The valet attendant told my friend, "you are the first white person who has ever smiled at me." This made my friend mist up, and she replied "If you smiled at them, maybe they would smile back." Some time later the valet told her, "Hey, I followed your advice. I started smiling at everyone - and you know, now there are a whole lot of white people who smile at me!"

If you ever think you don't matter, think again. One person, a few minutes a day. She has affected one woman's life, no doubt the lives of her children and her mother, and that woman now has a positive affect on the lives of innumerable cancer patients.

One person, one smile. Be yourself. Be happy. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Serenity Sunrise

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Blue Moon

The rising moon was even more glorious tonight than at it's fullest last night.  It rose large and golden, and light clouds made lovely patterns and a halo.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dramatic Sky

Driving to Olympia in the early evening, the setting sun lit up the clouds.

The cloud patterns were interesting and unusual. For a while it looked like clouds were gathering into plane forms and attempting to land.

When my class in Olympia was over the clouds had sunk to the horizon and the nearly-full moon shone brightly. 

The ever-changing sky makes the drive much more fun, and reminds me how beautiful our world is.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Who...What...Are You?

I moved Polly into one of the dog yards so she can do her mowing magic on it. Zander wants to get up close and personal. He doesn't quite understand what this new creature is, but he thinks he likes her.

Polly couldn't care less.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

And Bring a Friend?

My pigeon has been joined by a friend. The two are always together, sometimes eating, sometimes flying in large circles around the house area. Wherever they came from, this now seems to be home. I'm enjoying their beauty and their love of flying.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fright and Flight

My horses just had a mini-stampede, frightened from their food by a flock of 2 ducks and their 5 ducklings moving in tight formation. The ducks were (reasonably) worried about being stepped on by huge 4-legged beings, so started avoidance maneuvers, which further upset  the horses.

I managed to herd the ducks into their shelter before the horses came back down the hill. The horses all stopped on their way back to let me know I shouldn't allow such dangerous beasts in their field while they are eating. Never mind that the ducks have been here a week now.

Scary creatures, those ducks.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Charlie and his Horse

Dolly spends her days clearing the side of my lane, and her nights being protected by Charlie. He loves having someone to watch over at night. Charlie is a retired working livestock guardian, but stays current on barking techniques. He is now the first line of defense against predators, even if he is in a yard, rather than the pastures.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stocking Up

Dolly in front of the garage with half my alfalfa. I'm storing 200 bales this year.

I got a great deal on local alfalfa (half the going price), and today friends came with two loads of 100 bales. It's a lot of work getting them in, but it feels like I have my own personal feed store :). I feed mostly grass hay, but it's nice to have a large stock of alfalfa in for cold weather, mares with foals, or individuals not keeping enough weight on.

I'll probably sell some of this through the winter. I got a good enough deal that I can make some money on any I sell. From what I'm hearing, alfalfa is going to be in short supply for a couple years. During harvest it is selling for $18/19 a bale in feed stores. I can't afford to feed it at that price! This is the price we pay for the hot, dry weather most of the country has been experiencing.

So I'm excited that I have my winter supply safely stored in the garage.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I've been wanting more Guinea Fowl, but chicks from the hatcheries are pricey and you have to buy a bunch. I called on a local ad, and besides the 4 adult Guineas she had Guinea chicks and Runner ducklings. I couldn't resist, especially when she offered to throw in a pair of Mallard crosses and  one of their chicks. Here's my new flock of ducks, enjoying their new surroundings.

The adults have adopted all the ducklings, making my job much easier. I let them loose after two days inside, and they were thrilled with their new freedom, but returned to the shelter for the night. I'm excited to have ducks again.

Guinea pictures will follow, as soon as I can get decent shots of the very wild adults and the lovely chicks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fuzzy Friends

While collecting huckleberries I was visited by this cute caterpillar, destined to become a Rusty Tussock Moth. It seems these moths are originally from Europe, but are now well settled in America. My little camera (temporary replacement for my beloved Cannon Powershot) doesn't do well at focusing close up in the shade (or rather, I suppose, I haven't figured out how to make it focus properly), so no pics of him in the bush amidst the pretty red berries, only a slightly out-of-focus studio shot.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

May I Stay?

This lonely pigeon has adopted Ravenwood. She sticks around the house, eating leftovers from horses and fowl. I believe she is from someone's coop, as she's tamer than expected and travels alone. She's lost her way and is thinking this might be a nice replacement home. I hope she knows how to avoid owls and other raptors. Zander thinks she should move on, but I enjoy her presence.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Pretty Pony

The geldings check out a new arrival. Dolly is a very small Shetland pony. Very self-contained, she ignores the regard of the large boys.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Gifts of Beauty

I love turning and seeing the sudden beauty of a Peacock. It is the time of year when the cocks start sharing their beauty by leaving luscious long feathers scattered on the ground. The feathered gems catch my eye as I move about the property, and make lovely arrangements when gathered together.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Food, Please

It seems that as soon as I discover the location of the cat family, Momma feels a need to relocate. After a few days without an appearance, I heard a distant meow as I fed Charlie. Following the sound I found Momma cat some distance and two fences away, staring at me, asking for food. A growing family needs more sustenance than one kitty can provide. The offering I set out between the fences disappeared quickly. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wild Kitty Update

Momma kitty moved her brood away from the hay shed, and I didn't see her for a couple weeks. Then I spotted her a couple times. I continued to put food in places I've seen her frequent in the past, and the food disappeared.

Today I was walking up the back porch of my second house, and heard a rustle. Momma cat was staring me down.

She followed me, hissing and growling, making sure I knew I wasn't to interfere with her family. She is definitely a brave little thing.

I managed to catch one of the kittens making a beeline to safety - off the deck to the depth of the den. I've seen two kittens here. I don't know how many she has, and probably won't get a chance to count.

The interesting thing about this location is it is guarded by Charlie, my Great Pyrenees Elder. He has retired to the yard surrounding this house, where he is first in line to scare away predators. This cat moved her kittens into a fenced area with a 120 lb dog in residence. How did she know he would protect and not attack? I was wondering why he had started eating so much.