Favorite 2016 Photos

This took forever…it was hard to choose which were favorites and why. Some aren’t great technically, but the memory that goes with the image is priceless, some are (to me) technically perfect…or as close as I have been able to get. 😉
I went month to month on this…so even if I didn’t take the image that month, I’m choosing it based on the month I shared it. And one, I’m sharing even though I didn’t post it here at all (which surprises me, because it is easily one of my best photos ever!)

And so, let’s get to it, because this is going to get long… 😉

January

Ruby

Ruby

I love the blown out, over exposed look of this one…plus, Astrid is the perfect photo bomber here.

Trotting RubyGraceful, floaty Fat Girl. 😉
Even though I call her that, she is an amazing mover…when she wants to be.

February

Ahhhh-Chooooo!!!

Ahhhh-Chooooo!!!

OMG. You can see the sneeze…I love this shot…and I love that I was no where near her when I captured it. lol

My handsome Felix. <3

My handsome Felix. ❤

This…oh, my heart…one of my greatest images ever. Taken by chance. He’d walked up to me, sat down by my leg and was telling me a story, and I just looked down with the camera and snapped this.
My perfect little man…oh, how I miss him. 😥

March

It's a pig in a top hat!

It’s a pig in a top hat!

Who doesn’t love a pig in a top hat??
This hat went on to grace the heads of quite a few horses…but only this pig. May have to change that this summer!

This happened...

This happened…

First time someone had been on Astrid’s back since she got here…only took a couple years. 😉
And Astrid? Pfft, didn’t care.
She just wanted to know where the food was.
Notice Ruby doing the photo bombing this time…

Snowflakes on Cookie

Snowflakes on Cookie

Snowflakes on Astrid

My snowflake on coats shots…this is something that sounds like it should be simple to capture. It’s not, really. These were the best of the ones I took in 2016…

April

Felix was not impressed by the Bacon Bits.

Felix was not impressed by the Bacon Bits.

We added piglets to the farm!!
Hubby had the pig shelter done a week or so before the bacon bits came home, which meant it became a cat house…turns out those cats were not happy to find someone else had moved in. 😉

Kisses and snuggles with a friend. :)

Kisses and snuggles with a friend. 🙂

Oh this…what can I say about this one??
She’s an amazing woman who I am so happy to have as a friend…we met through our daughters love of horses, and I was so happy to share our horses with her family.
Astrid was just loving her… 🙂

<3

That wonderful woman’s son and our Ruby…this is the one I’m stunned I hadn’t shared here. Easily one of my best shots ever. So beautiful, so perfect.
Ruby was entranced by him…as it turns out, she loves little boys.
The connection between the 2 of them here is exquisite.

Later Cookie. Enjoy your nap. <3

Later Cookie.
Enjoy your nap.

My sweetheart and her strawbale pillow…

Silly girl, was sure she could roll in the water...this is the moment she learned she can't breath underwater. :P

Silly girl, was sure she could roll in the water…this is the moment she learned she can’t breath underwater. 😛

Oh Astrid!

Jack Memorial2And then, there were tears, for loss of a baby sitter horse.
A special boy who so many kids loved…
Where my Girlie-O takes her lessons, they do this, a memorial in the stall, so that people have a chance to say good bye.
My Girlie loved Jack and this was a hard loss for her.
We didn’t know December would bring us another loss that would hurt even more…

May

Cookie doing her morning yoga stretches. <3

Cookie doing her morning yoga stretches. ❤

Not great, technically, but oh how I love this image!! I’ve tried for so long to capture her in that cat-like stretch. I got lucky on this one, and haven’t seen her do it since.

Felix in the Pasture wmAnother one of my Felix…he was such a gorgeous model, and more than happy to work in front of the camera.

11th Birthday 3My Girl turned 11…and worked her birthday hat like crazy. ❤

Mini troughs are the perfect height for piggies...and puggies!

Mini troughs are the perfect height for piggies…and puggies!

Gotta love a pig and a pug having lunch together!

June

Iron Paint2*sigh*
The whole “Iron Paint” photo series is beautiful…except for the fact that she was colicking. And, from that day on, things with her have been changed…she’s more of a Mama Suck horse, and she’s more delicate when it comes to feeds. This day was a turning point, and made me realize, my “Iron Paint” wasn’t really made of iron, she was just really good at showing that she was.

Sable decided to wash Astrid...

Sable decided to wash Astrid…

Astrid is gorgeous here, and well, Sable wanted to wash her.
Cats or horses? Who can say?

Ihop, the day she came home.

Ihop, the day she came home.

One of our hennys the day we brought them home.
They came from a battery barn, where they were being swapped out for younger layers. Here, they got a chance to be happy hennys.
And they still are…even in the crazy cold of winter.

"Screw you Mama. I **am** graceful and beautiful." ~Ruby

“Screw you Mama. I **am** graceful and beautiful.”
~Ruby

After I’d done a blog post showing how ungraceful Ruby was getting up (really, it’s not pretty watching a horse heave themselves up!) she gave me this…yes, our Ruby is definitely graceful and beautiful.

July

I haz a boo-boo.

I haz a boo-boo.

I was gifted with a scythe, and I learned fast that, while honing the blade, one should not take their attention away from the razor-sharp steel in their hand.
No stitches were needed (not that they’d have stayed in, where the cut was) and I was lucky to come away with a scar and some minor nerve damage.
Lesson learned.

Hubby meeting a friend's Gotland pony, named Huck.

Hubby meeting a friend’s Gotland pony, named Huck.

I love this shot so much…
This fellow belongs to our friend, and hoof trimmer, Michele.
Huck is a sweet little fellow, but was so unsure of Hubby being in his space. With patience and some coaxing, Huck did warm up enough to check Hubby out, and nibble his work boot. 😉

Are ya hot, Felix?

Are ya hot, Felix?

Surprise, another Felix shot. ❤

The Queen awaits what the peasants have to say to her...

The Queen awaits what the peasants have to say to her…

My first attempt at a black background shot…
With this gorgeous model…a delightfully willful Haflinger mare named Showby…I had very little editing work to do.
This girl is as close to SOOC perfect as possible.

One of the boarders and her big guy, enjoying the view.

One of the boarders and her big guy, enjoying the view.

Another one of those melt-your-heart perfect moments.
I would have totally missed it if the StableMistress hadn’t said “there’s your shot”…luckily, I was able to catch it just in time.

August

KB1 bw wmSimple perfection…
Not much more to say. 🙂

Washing her face a bit.

Washing her face a bit.

Aaaah!! The simple joy of Nigella Piggie playing in the hose water.

Aurora over the Farm 25%My first time capturing the Auroras…
Something I plan to try again, every chance I get. 🙂

September

This is actually from the first day I noticed she wasn't quite herself...

This is actually from the first day I noticed she wasn’t quite herself…

Another day where she gave me gorgeous images, but something wasn’t quite right with her…the next few months became a blur of vet visits and work with her to try to get her back on track.
I think we’re there now…thank goodness.

Awwww! She's just plain perfect. <3

Awwww!
She’s just plain perfect. ❤

The caption says it all…

Old crown...ahh, the pink fish leather! Looked so dang good on her too!

Old crown…ahh, the pink fish leather! Looked so dang good on her too!

I just love this one…that stinky gross crown changed out to a new one…I still have the gross one. Covered in mud, blood and shit, but it’s mine.

Paints in the morning sunlight.

Paints in the morning sunlight.

This one, at Hubby’s urging, I sent to the local news station as a “weather pic” and it made it to tv.
I was pretty darn proud of that…this was the first of many sunrise shots I was able to capture…I love that soft morning light and the peacefulness of the early morning.

October

farm-sunrise-wmOh the colours!
This was really pushing the capabilities of my D90.
But, I’m a firm believer that gear is only half of what makes a great image…skill of the person holding it counts for a lot, and this past year, I worked hard to push that camera to its limits.
I still have a way to go, before I feel I *have* to upgrade…

Getting a thoughtful look from Anthony...

Getting a thoughtful look from Anthony…

Black background piggie portrait?
Sure! Why not?

Gosh, I love that tummy!! <3

Gosh, I love that tummy!! ❤

A sun setting shot, showing how my Girl’s winter coat was starting…

bella-and-daddyWhen I posted this on my personal FB page, I included the lyrics:

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on”

It just fit.

bella-and-her-girlI didn’t take it last year, but I did post it…
This remains one of my favorite pictures of these 2 together.
That mare loves her like no other. ❤

ruby-dragonfly-wmRuby’s pretty little hitchhiker. 🙂

November

...He puts on a grey suit Over his airborne tattoo And he ties it on one time a year And remembers the fallen As he orders a tall-one And swallows it down with his tears... Big & Rich - 8th Of November

…He puts on a grey suit
Over his airborne tattoo
And he ties it on one time a year
And remembers the fallen
As he orders a tall-one
And swallows it down with his tears…
Big & Rich – 8th Of November

The first of my Remembrance Day images…

...Say a prayer for peace For our Daughters and our Sons Set our Spirits free Let us lay down our guns Sweet mother Mary we're so tired But we can't come home 'Til the last shot's fired... Trace Adkins - Til The Last Shot's Fired

…Say a prayer for peace
For our Daughters and our Sons
Set our Spirits free
Let us lay down our guns
Sweet mother Mary we’re so tired
But we can’t come home
‘Til the last shot’s fired…
Trace Adkins – Til The Last Shot’s Fired

My favorite Remembrance Day image…

My only problem with the images is the songs…and it’s not even the songs themselves. It’s that they are by American artists.
I spent hours and hours and hours trying to find songs by Canadian artists that had the same level of clear patriotism. It broke my heart that I couldn’t find anything that spoke it so clearly as the American written songs did.
It’s not that we Canadians don’t love, honour, respect and support our soldiers…I think it’s that we’re softer, more gentle about our patriotism. At times I think that’s a good thing, but damn, I want to see a Canadian artist write and record a chest thumping, proud to be a Canadian soldier tune…
I’m looking at you, Dean Brody, Gord Bamford, George Canyon…
Could one of you do that for me in 2017?
Please?
So my next years Remembrance Day images could be set to a blatantly patriotic Canadian song?
Thank you. ❤

Sable

Sable

November 16th is Gotcha Day. We celebrate the day the Original 3 came Home…always capital “H”…Home.
This shot of Sable is from sunrise on Gotcha Day.
Another sunrise photo...Sable and her best pal, Astrid.

Another sunrise photo…Sable and her best pal, Astrid.

Astrid wasn’t one of our Original 3. She came in January, but we love her as if she’s always been here.
Her and Sable have a special friendship.
Our Blonde Girl was the first to welcome Astrid after she got off the trailer. No squealing, no posturing, just “Hey, wanna be friends?”
And they have been ever since. ❤

December

Finally, December’s pictures…

Isn't Bella looking super fab??

Isn’t Bella looking super fab??

The rare Cat Tree. LOL!
It’s because I can’t go anywhere on the Farm without a feline entourage. I love it. 🙂

ghost-and-daphne2Oh, our Ghost…finally he learned that Daphne wasn’t trying to kill him, that she just wanted to play.
And play he does!
She’s a jerk and zooms around him, he leaps and tags her every chance he gets. It’s so cute!

She's licking him...and Trouble is just fine with it.

She’s licking him…and Trouble is just fine with it.

She has a thing for cats, our Astrid does.
And this one, she’s always licking him. Maybe he tastes good to her? 😉

sunlight-ruby-wmMy shot celebrating the Longest Night…

She plows through the drifts like they're not even there...

She plows through the drifts like they’re not even there…

The supercharged power of a Palomino.
Amazing.

Deimos <3

Deimos ❤

This boy was our other loss in 2016.
This one hit us hard.
I think it hit a lot of people at the Stable hard…Deimos was loved by a lot of folks, and not just the young ones. ❤
My Girlie loved him so much…she learned a lot with him, including how to canter.
I loved him as a photography model…he was gorgeous, he knew it, and oh, he knew how to pose!!
Such a character, with a boisterous whinny that could be heard everywhere. The barn is so quiet without him. 😥

And finally, last, but not least, as 2016 ends, and we move into 2017, a sunset shot…

Sun set and Cookie

Sun set and Cookie

May your 2017 bring you peace, love, health and happiness.
I hope y’all stick with us for another year, as we grow and learn, and work our way through Farm life.
I have loved sharing our life with all of you, and can’t wait for what 2017 brings.

Feeling Thankful…

As 2016 comes to a close, I’m feeling pretty darn grateful.
2016 was a year of challenges and learning…
From spring and Bella’s hoof issues, raising piglets and caring for chickens, septic repairs, Cookie colicking, and then Cookie’s health issues…
It’s been a hard fucking year…pardon the cussing.

But…

We’ve grown as a family.
My Kid learned about raising meat animals, the proper care and respect, and the work that goes into sending them to Freezer Camp.
She was my rock to lean on when my horse colicked…which was amazing, because she’s always leaned on me whenever her Sable did.
My Hubby taught both of us the proper way to dispatch food animals, and how to gut and clean them.
He worked his ass off, taking extra shifts to cover vet bills for my stupid horse…a horse that he puts up with because I love her, but he doesn’t really like much. And that’s fair, because she did try to kick him into next week a few years back…damn near killed him…and he’d have been well within his rights to put a bullet in her for it…but it never occurred to him to do it.  He’s just learned and adjusted how he works with her…and he’s done so well that he trims her hooves now.

That is amazing…
That is dedication I have to admire…
That proves (as if I didn’t already know it 😉 ) I have a damn good Man…

And me?
I had to learn to adapt to a when things don’t go to plan, learn how to let things go and let them work themselves out, and celebrate the little joys that life gives us.
I’ve been covered in mud, blood, shit and puke this past year, and as hard as some things have been, the knowledge I took away from each and every experience has been valuable.
Some things I don’t want to have to do again, but if it happens, I know now what to do.
I call that a success.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll do a Best of 2016 photo retrospective…because I’ve pushed myself as a photographer too, and I’m damn proud of the images I’ve captured.
I hope y’all will come back and see which ones were my favorites…and tell me which ones were yours.

For now, here’s one from this morning…

rippin-it-up
The Girls were rippin’ it up again this morning…enjoying life and having fun. Gotta love that. ❤

Digging Out

By Tuesday, it was finally done.
The snow stopped falling, the wind stopped howling and we started the clean up in earnest.
We have, thankfully, a snowblower for the tractor. That makes this whole snow thing so much easier to handle.
Still, wide open space, mixed with blizzard conditions, makes for lots of drifts, and deep ones.
For example:

Dog, Kid, snow drift...oh yeah, 5 foot fence in the background!

Dog, Kid, snow drift…oh yeah, 5 foot fence in the background!

Hubby had already cleaned out the entrance to the gate…Daphne’s trying to jump up on the drift that formed at the east gate into the pasture.
That drift also covered the driveway. Granted, it wasn’t quite as deep on the driveway, because there is a drop off from the drive to the gate for water to run off the drive, but it was at least 3 feet of snow sitting on it!

I’ll tell ya, that’s all but impossible to deal with without big equipment. A loader on the tractor works, but then, after a few big dumps like this, you run out of places to pile the snow…that’s speaking from experience. Our first year here was crazy with the amount of snow we had piled around. So, we bought a 6 foot snowblower, and snow moving got 1000% easier.

There are, however, plenty of places that need digging out by hand.
~ The waterer…can’t get too close to that with the tractor, so I dig it out by hand. Often.
lol
Horses drink a lot…4 x a lot = holy crap, that’s a lot of digging!
With help…always with help from Sable. Can’t do *anything* with water without Sable. She’s my 1500ishlb water baby. 😉
~ The deck…as much as I wish we could get a snowblower up there, well, that’s all hand power to clean. Wheee!!
Plus, with the cat house being there, it’s really important to make sure all my felines warm spaces can be accessed. I don’t want anyone snowed in, or snowed out.
~ The chicken yard…okay, so, the gate was completely blown in, and we had to get into the yard to feed and check on the hennys…6 foot blower doesn’t fit through the gate, and neither does the walk behind blower until the gate can be opened…and so, more digging.

And, I am glad we didn’t try to overwinter the pigs, because I’ll tell ya, I don’t want another species to try to keep alive in the frigid depths of winter…at least, not yet. Maybe one year we’ll try, but, this was the first year for wintering chickens, and that’s learning experience enough for this year. 😉

Of course, with the clean up, comes some delightful asshat-ery from the Girls. And, when I’m on the ball, that means I take my camera outside. Then, y’all get to see my mares being silly butts…

She plows through the drifts like they're not even there...

She plows through the drifts like they’re not even there…

And, of course, Miss Bella Haza BooBoo (if we could register her with any sort of association, that would be her registered name!) always manages an ice cut from playing in the snow…*sigh*
I must say, I love this shot of Sable though…the power in her hind end is so evident, and it’s amazing the power this mare has! Especially for such a gentle girl. ❤

Showing off her inner bucking bronco...

Showing off her inner bucking bronco…

This one ^^^…wow, she was rippin’ it up! Bucking and kicking and galloping…at one point, her and Sable were racing, with Ruby trying to keep up…them Old Ladies were showing the young Fat Girl how fast they could be! 😉

Race!

Race!

You can see, Ruby is trying to keep up with the old gals, but nope!

Ruby's losing ground...

Ruby’s losing ground…

Finally, Ruby and Astrid just gave up…

Watching the Old Ladies givin' 'er!

Watching the Old Ladies givin’ ‘er!

By the way…look at Astrid’s tail!!
It’s gotten so long…she has the longest tail of everyone now.
Used to be Ruby, but Ruby managed to find some barbed wire somewhere in the willows, and we had to cut her tail to get it out. 😥
Had the same issue with Cookie earlier in the summer, but Cookie stood for the tail trim much better than Ruby did.
Hopefully, we’ve managed to get it all out of there now. We’re awful tired of running into garbage from previous owners of this place.

Merry Day After Christmas

We’re on the tail end of the blizzard that has been hammering us since Sunday afternoon…it started out blowy and blustery on Christmas Eve and just got steadily worse.
But, we’re almost through it, and by tomorrow, it’s supposed to be done. And then, the clean up starts.
*sigh*

But, everyone is safe, well fed, and doing just fine.
The horses were even kicking up their heels a bit this morning. 😉

Hopefully, once the weather settles, and the clean up is done, I can do my annual Yule photo shoot with the Girls.
Yeah, it’ll be late, but that’s okay.
I’ll still enjoy doing it, and I’ll enjoy sharing it, and I’m sure y’all will enjoy seeing it. 😉

In the mean time, I hope everyone has had a warm, happy, and healthy holiday season…

Happy holidays to all y'all!

Happy holidays to all y’all!

Christmas Eve

It’s a blustery and blowy day…we’re moving into another blizzard.
Any where from 10-20 inches of snow expected and then, the wind. We’re as ready as can be…extra feed for hennys and horses socked away, good food in the house, gas for the generator, just in case…

What isn’t done is my Yule photo shoot with the Girls.
Safe to say, that’s going to have to wait until the weather settles down.
Y’see, it would have been done sooner, but I didn’t get the final necessary piece to do it until yesterday…despite trying to line things up for the past month and a half. 😡
Turns out, my local gov’t isn’t that great at returning calls, messages and inquires. Well, big stinkin’ surprise there!
So, it’ll be a bit, but I’ll get it done. 🙂

Instead, I have for you, a few images of my Girl from yesterday…

Sleepy horse...

Sleepy horse…

It may have been cold, but the sun was shining, and let me tell you, sunshine on her black coat means warm Girl…and that means nap time. 😉

When you need to use the fence as a pillow...

When you need to use the fence as a pillow… ❤

And then, as always, we had a cat come help…and he spoiled her nap.

Trouble whispers sweet nothings to her...

Trouble whispers sweet nothings to her…

This one is one of The Kid’s shots…she wanted to borrow my camera to take some pictures of the dog and her log, and happened to capture this moment between these 2.
Super cute. 🙂

Happy Girl

With the deep freeze and frigid temperatures, everyone was spunky af when the sun came out. No wind and sunshine, plus Daddy making noise with the tractor (scraping up the frozen poo balls) meant crazy cantering games ensued.
As soon as he went out to start the tractor, my camera went in the bag and out on the deck to acclimatize…

And then, I caught this one having fun.
I won’t lie, I squeed with joy. ❤

Galloping across the pasture...

Galloping across the pasture…

A little bucking, just for fun.

A little bucking, just for fun.

Was so nice to see her run and play. 🙂
She’s been feeling much better with a few lifestyle changes, and this showed me that she really is feeling better.
Yay!