Last SHS of 2015

Last Scavenger Hunt Sunday of 2015.
The prompts this week are simply Photographer’s Choice.
My choices this for this week are some festive photos we did with the Girls on Christmas day.
Seems to be a tradition with us…wake up, take the dog out, feed the animals, make coffee, open presents, then go out and photograph the horses. 🙂
Works for me!

So, on to the pictures.

Photographer’s Choice #1

Festively adorned Astrid

Festively adorned Astrid

I borrowed the ribbon around the neck idea from the MRDA Santa photo shoot. This is the best of a bunch of not-so-good shots. I was trying to do this on my own, without a halter on Astrid. Hubby and The Kid were working on getting Sable bridled…I wanted to do a photo of Sable with the ribbon and bow, plus The Kid on her back…didn’t work out. Sable was having an off day. 😦 It’s never fun when Sable is having an off day.
All that considered, this isn’t a bad photo, it’s just not as good as I had wanted it to be…so, I’ll try again.
Astrid is a real beauty, and I really want her 2015 Christmas photo to show that.

Photographer’s Choice #2

Christmas Sable

Christmas Sable

She was having a rough morning. Still not sure what was up with her, but we finally got a good shot. Not great, but good. Again, I will give it another go later on this week.
Afterwards, I did give her a bit of a back rub, and a couple of gingerbread cookies, and that seemed to make her feel better. The weather’s been pretty steady, so I don’t think her tummy was off. I think, maybe, she was just missing her humans.
Our dear Sable is very much a people horse, so when she doesn’t get what she feels is enough attention, she can be grumpy, and will make her tummy upset over it.
She’s our big special Girl. ❤

Photographer’s Choice #3

The Christmas Cookie

The Christmas Cookie

Who said “Why yes, Mama, I will wear that bow and pose real pretty for you!”
I figured of all of them, she’d be the one to run off, never to pose with the bow. Just had to prove me wrong. Big silly.

Photographer’s Choice #4

Hubby and Ruby

Hubby and Ruby

Ruby was another one…”Oh! Pose for the camera with Daddy and a bow? Sure!!” And easy peasy, this shot was caught.
Paints.
Go figure!

Photographer’s Choice #5

This last shot isn’t mine…it’s a shot by The Kid. You can see why I didn’t take it…

❤ ❤ ❤

Yup, me and my bestest Girl. And, she’s looking fabulous.

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

7 days

We’re looking at exactly 7 days to Christmas.
And we’re exhausted. lol! But, that’s farm life, right?
Let me say though, it’s not the work. There are things that have to be done, so we just do them. It’s the weather. We’re on the tail end of our first big winter storm (which, considering it’s 7 days ’til Christmas is not bad!) and well, I’m ready for winter to be done.
Thing is, I’ve been hoping for snow. I love the snow, and taking pictures the horses in the snow…and then, at least, we’re done with mud for a while. Oh, but it’s the wind. It was blowing pretty hard out here, and non-stop.
*sigh*
It grates on the nerves, making everyone short tempered. Especially the horses.
We’ve had a couple “Come to Jesus” meetings with Cookie this week, due to disrespectful behaviour. I 100% understand that it’s the weather, but, 1200lbs of pushing humans, or aggressive pushing of other horses into humans, will not be tolerated.
And then, during last night’s feeding Astrid tried to kick Sable, who deked out of the way, leaving me in the line of fire…thankfully, she realized Sable had moved and swung that pretty bum of hers away from me. Still, I was not happy, and I let her know she screwed up.
No asshat-ery allowed when humans are in the pasture!
Again, it’s the weather. I know it, the Girls know it, but I still won’t let that be an excuse for bad behaviour.

Sunday is supposed to be lovely. Cool, crisp, with little to no wind. I’m looking forward to it.

That said, the lead up to Christmas and Yule has been delightfully full with work for me. I’ve had more than a dozen custom orders for Equi~Gems, and several sales of ready-to-wear pieces made from the Girls here. I was given the opportunity to put some pieces in the display case at the Stable where Kid takes her lessons. That is awesome. 🙂 Makes me smile. The profits from them get split between our hay fund and the emergency vet fund. Any time I can bolster those funds is great!

We’ll have some new stock on the Equi~Gems For Sale page in the new year. I had planned on getting some new stuff posted up before then, but life got busy. Making Equi~Gems.
There will be some changes…good changes!

~Chains will now be included with the pendants…of course, that means prices will change to reflect that. I did find some marvelous sterling silver chains that are well worth the price though.

~Earrings!! I’m working on some earrings…The joy of the Equi~Gems is they’re light. I’ve been wearing my piece of Dorkite on a hoop for several months now, and I can’t even tell its there.

~Gemstones! I’m excited about this one. 😀 Much like my Dorkite necklace:

Dorkite

Dorkite

I’m working on being able to offer this simple setting as an option for Equi~Gems.
The Kid and I are in the product testing phase of this setting…again…I had to adjust how it’s done after loosing that ^^^ emerald to tiny tabby teeth way back when the Meatloaves were really itty bitty.
I have an adjustment to the procedure, so hopefully that equals new style for y’all come the New Year.

And, once I re-stock the sale page, I’ll be adding the paypal button. Just to make everyone’s life easier. I’m all for that! That way, you see an Equi~Gem you like, you hit “buy it now” and I send it out on my next trip to the post office (typically Tuesdays and Thursdays). Easy peasy.

And now, a few photos to share!

Last month, I had looked out our front window to see what I thought was a seagull sitting on our fence.
We had, over the summer, a couple of them walking up and down the road out front, and in some crazed fit of weirdness, I named them Bob, Oscar and Leroy. They would walk back and forth in front of the house, stop at the end of the driveway and stare into the yard…it was a little odd.
So, when I saw this bird sitting on the fence, I was ready to open the window and yell at “Bob” to get off my fence and go do something productive. What I realized though was that it wasn’t Bob at all…it was someone far more incredible than Bob…

Hello Not-Bob!

Hello Not-Bob!

I have always loved owls. Owls Sing to my Spirit.
I knew we had them out here. I’ve heard them many times at night, and a couple of times caught glimpses of them flying through the yard light.
This visit though, was incredible! That picture above, I was less than 30 feet from him. I know this because our fence posts are 10 feet in between, and I had just passed the 3rd post from him to take this shot.

And then he flew...

And then he flew…

Then settled on the post at the far end of the pasture.

Then settled on the post at the far end of the pasture.

I’ve seen 2 more since then.
The wildlife around here never ceases to amaze me. ❤

Santa Photos

I was invited to be the photographer for the Santa Photo fundraiser at the stable where Kid takes lessons.
This was the second year I was asked to do it, and I was more than happy to do so.

What happens is, folks are offered the opportunity to have their picture taken with Santa, and their horse (if they have one, or a school horse, if they prefer) dressed in festive wear. It costs $20, and for that you get 1 digital image, free of watermarks, to do with as you please.

All money is donated to Manitoba Riding for the Disabled, which is a wonderful therapeutic riding program for kids with disabilities. MRDA enjoys the use of the stable’s facility, as well as the use of their horses.
It is such an amazing program. The difference it makes in kid’s lives is undeniable.
Please, take the time to explore their website to see the work MRDA does. And, if you have a little bit of spare money you’re looking to donate, please, think of them.

This guy will thank you…because he loves his job as a therapy horse. 😉

Brazzle

Brazzle

A Daisy Mae and Nancy Update

My plan, with the Meatloaf Litter, was to only keep Nancy.
He’s my special little guy.
When Sophie (now Suzy) and Robin (still Robin, because he’s a boy) went to their new furever home (together! Lucky kids. 🙂 ) I was only supposed to have 1 kitten in the house.
Why?
Well, because Daisy Mae was supposed to transition back outside, to live her life as a barn cat.

*sigh*

Didn’t happen.
She was inside too long, and she shed out her winter coat. Can’t put the poor little bug outside, with no winter coat.
And then, The Kid fell in love with her.
Okay, no. That’s no quite true…The Kid was in love with her since maybe 3 seconds after she found her? lol

Now we have 4 indoor cats.
Yay!

Daisy "The Weasel" Mae

Daisy “The Weasel” Mae

Sir Nancy of the Fancy Pants

Sir Nancy of the Fancy Pants

They’re growing very well. Weaned off the formula 3 weeks ago.
We’ve been leaving them free at night now too.
That’s been fun. Sort of. Kittens are smaller, more energetic versions of “Oh, you’re sleeping? I MUST PLAY NOW!!!” cats.
Sleep has been short.
I could be a Miserable Cow, if I wanted to, but 1 on the Farm is enough. 😉

That's our Daisy, bites Nancy's butt to force him out of the box.

That’s our Daisy, bites Nancy’s butt to force him out of the box.

The evil glowing eyed kitty is The Kid's.  Not mine.  My kitten is the Good Kitty.

The evil glowing eyed kitty is The Kid’s.
Not mine.
My kitten is the Good Kitty.

Oh, but Miss Daisy can put on an innocent face when she wants to…

Daisy Mae...I almost believe she's innocent.  Almost.

Daisy Mae…I almost believe she’s innocent.
Almost.

Pumpkin Eating Ponies

A while back, a friend gave us a pumpkin to share with The Girls. I put in a cool place, got a little busy, and it ended up sitting for a few weeks. Ooookay…more like a month.
Either way…I cut into it last week, scraped out the seeds for myself (yes, I’m greedy. I don’t share home roasted pumpkin seeds with horses. Or The Kid. Or Hubby.), and cut it into 4 pieces for the nags.

I waited until The Kid came home from school to hand it over to them, because I knew she’d want to see what the horses did with their pumpkin chunks. And, I took pictures…because I knew y’all would want to see too. 😉

Astrid came to the fence first...and rejected the pumpkin right away.

Astrid came to the fence first…and rejected the pumpkin right away.

“Uh, really? I’m supposed to eat that? You sure?”
She was not impressed.

Sable was next…

"Mmmmm. Pumpkin is nommie, Mommie!"

“Mmmmm. Pumpkin is nommie, Mommie!”

She had a great time chewing it. As long as I held it. Once it fell out of my hand, she was bored.
Goofball.

"Nom, nom, nom!"

“Nom, nom, nom!”

Cookie vibrated with glee, munching on that pumpkin chunk. When it fell, and Astrid tried to steal it…well, you can see, Cookie wasn’t letting anyone take her pumpkin…

"Mine! I'm not sharing!"

“Mine! I’m not sharing!”

She ate just about half that chunk, before wandering away from it. 🙂

Ruby waited until everyone was done, then enjoyed her piece while the sun went down.

"Mmmmm! Pumpkin! Woulda been better if Mom had put some brown sugar on it though..."

“Mmmmm! Pumpkin! Woulda been better if Mom had put some brown sugar on it though…”

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Warm Heart Wednesday.
Even though the pumpkin was given to us a while ago, cutting it up and sharing with the Girls last week reminded me what wonderful friends we have, and that warmed my heart. 🙂

Miserable Cow Monday…

…Slid right into Testy Don’t-Touch-Me Tuesday.

This one…

Miserable Cow

Miserable Cow

Had her miserable cow face on yesterday, and wanted nothing to with any one or anything. In fact, every time one of the other 3 went near her, she’d pin her ears at them.
Tried it with me too, which resulted in the “I don’t f***ing think so” voice, and the threat of thumping her right between her pretty ears if she didn’t unpin them RIGHT NOW.
I don’t put up with ears being pinned at me…ever.

Turns out, she had a crazy chunk of ice in her right front hoof. Took me a bit to lever it out…part of that was because she kept trying to take her foot back. Balance, we’re still working on it. Oh, and she was being a miserable cow.
It looks like she’s got a bit of a bruise on the sole from it. I brought the chunk itself in to melt, just to be sure that it was just ice, not anything nasty in the ice that was causing pain.
Thankfully, just ice.
The things I do for those nags. *rolls eyes*

This morning though, she seems to be just fine.
Just doesn’t want to be touched. Her “leave me alone” vibe is very strong today. Grumpy ass. I told her she’d better quit acting like a Miserable Cow, because if anything happens to me, there is no one else who is willing to put up with her shit, unless she stops being such a Miserable Cow, so Hubby might just put a bullet in her and bury us together.
LOL!
We’ve actually talked about that…I’ve told him, he can do that, if he doesn’t want to deal with her shit, if I die first. I know full well that I put up with more of her Mare Moods than any other person on the planet would. I take more of her anti-social crap than anyone else would. I’ve invested a lot of time, effort, patience and love in Her Miserableness, and I don’t expect any one else to, after I’m gone.
So, I tell Hubby, I won’t be the angry, vengeful ghost if he sends her across The Bridge after me.
I’ll understand.
100% 😉

"Ya make me laugh, Mom!"

“Ya make me laugh, Mom! I’m an absolute delight to live with, and you know it!”

On Grief and Losing Your Equine Friend

We’re going to get a wee bit serious today, okay?
There’s something that I’ve been encountering that I feel I need to address…

You all know I make jewelry from hoof clippings, naming them Equi~Gems. I am a Goldsmith by trade.
My shop is small but mighty 🙂 …uh, okay, its my kitchen table. My actual “shop” hasn’t been built yet. It’s on The List of Things To Build.
I have done many, many pieces of jewelry, from the classic design and cast pieces, to the more eclectic wire/stone/claw pieces.
I prefer the eclectic, one of a kind pieces. That why Equi~Gems are perfect for me. Every piece is unique. Just like the horses they come from.
I have even had the honour of setting a pair of LifeGems.

One of the things I have always believed the Equi~Gems could be, and should be, is the Equine version of LifeGems. A tangible piece of jewelry, made from your equine partner’s hooves as a memorial when they pass.
Much like having horse hair jewelry made.

Lately, in our smallish horse community, there have been a few people who have had to let their horses cross The Rainbow Bridge.
I have been asked why I don’t use that opportunity to sell Equi~Gems. To advertise them as the perfect memorial piece. By more than one person.

Here’s the answer to that…

I am not in business to take advantage of a horse owner’s grief.
Yes, if I did push the Equi~Gems at that time, I would likely have more sales, and would be busier with client’s pieces.
But.
I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.
Okay I don’t sleep much anyways…lol.
What sleep I do get, I want to be good sleep, and I can’t sleep well without a clear conscience.
I cannot, in good conscience, intrude on someone’s grief, just to sell a product.
Yes, the jewelry is a perfect memorial.
Yes, I want to be able to make that memorial for the grieving horse owner.
I don’t however, want to play the vulture…
Too many people see someone dealing with losing a loved one, two footed and four footed, and think it’s the perfect time to sell them a product. I hate that, and it’s not how I do business.
But, that’s just me.

What I will do, is offer my sympathies and words of comfort. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet.
March will be 3 years since we lost our OldWoman, our german shepherd, and I miss her every day. Every damn day.
I would not have wanted someone to be in my face about how to memorialize her right after, or just before, she crossed. It was hard enough making the trip to the vet, let alone anything else.
I cannot imagine someone trying to sell me a product at that time…

The other thing I will do, is leave a list here, on what to do, should you be facing the death of your Equine friend, and you think you might, sometime, want an Equi~Gem made.
I’ll also add the information to the F.A.Q page.

  1. Take your piece of hoof after your equine friend has crossed over. This way, there are no worries about holding up a foot, balancing, or causing further distress.
  2. Take as big of a piece as you are comfortable with. As cold as it may sound, the bigger the piece, the better. It will give us more options for jewelry when you are ready. Take pieces from all 4 feet, if you can. Every hoof will polish up different. Again, it’s options. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with this.
  3. Rinse off as much of the muck and mud as you can. Pat dry, and place in zipper bag.
  4. Put the bag in a cool place. A fridge, or freezer is best. If you don’t want to store the clipping(s) yourself, contact me. I can, and will, store it for you, until you are ready.
  5. Grieve.
  6. Contact me when you are ready. Give yourself at least 6 months. Be ready to talk about your equine friend. I’m going to ask you about them. I want to be able to make you the best piece possible, to represent your relationship. Something you are going to be proud to wear.

When we talk about your Equi~Gem, I don’t want you to be thinking how pushy I was advertising my skills. How I intruded on your personal grief to convince you to do this…I want you to be remembering the times you had with your partner, the good things you did together, the love, the laughter, and yeah, even the tears.

When you have an Equi~Gem made as a memorial, it should hold the memories of your and your horse.
I will do my very best to make sure that’s what you get.

I’ll Do Just About Anything…

To get a good photo.
When I took the shots of Felix and Cookie, as well as the Miniature Lions and Sable, they were done lying on the ground. Which makes life fun when there’s a whole herd of cats who love to climb on me, and the dog, who really just wants to help. Or so she says…
But, to get a shot like this:

Felix Loves CookieOr this:

Felix TailYou pretty much have to be ground level. I mean, this next one is a great shot too:

2 black and white onesBut, if I had been lying down, it would have been just that much better.

And then, there’s the bloopers…shots that are hilarious. Like this one of Astrid:

"Hey Mom. Whatchoo doin?"

“Hey Mom. Whatchoo doin?”

Thankfully, she didn’t have a mouth full of water, otherwise I would have worn it. I’m also thankful she’s a very good Girl and didn’t try to step on me. 😉

And then, there are the shots you work so hard to set up…

"Soldier's Daughter"

“Soldier’s Daughter”

This was our Remembrance Day tribute. I’ve had this image/idea floating around in my head for nearly 2 years. I tried it one other time, in the local Veteran’s graveyard, but the images didn’t quite work.
This one worked…oh, but, the candid I snapped (because when you put stuff in the pasture, the Girls are, naturally, curious), before the above image, brought tears to my eyes when I saw it…

"Soldier's Horse"

“Soldier’s Horse”

This one I posted on the Farm Facebook page on Remembrance Day, with the comment:

“Mom says this is a day of Remembrance.
She says that there was a time when horses like me had to do something called “go to war”…I don’t know what that means, but it doesn’t sound good.
Mom says it wasn’t. Many of us never came home. Just like the men that went with us.
Mom says this memorial is something men do to honour their brothers in arms when they die in war…I think it’s a good memorial for the horses that died too.”
~ Astrid

I’ll tell ya, even now, a month later, and I still feel the Power of that shot. It is one of my very best. ❤

I think I am very lucky. Because I work from home, where the horses are, so I carry the camera(s) around a lot. That’s how I get great shots of them. I am also lucky to have friends and family who understand my habit and don’t freak out about the camera always being there.
I try really hard to not be in people’s faces, to be pushy, but, at the same time, I see things that I think need to be recorded. Those candid moments that most people don’t think of…those are the times I let the camera lead me. I turn the focusing beep off, so I’m not intruding, and just let the camera take me to the images that it wants.

To me, that’s how you get those once in a lifetime shots that every photographer wants to get. Quietly, on the edge of everything, watch it all, capture it all. And then, later, look at what you captured.
That’s how I do it.
It works with people, it works with animals.