Hello Monday!

I am sorry if you don’t like Mondays.
I am sorry if you’re not looking forward to being back to work…or school…
I am happy though, for Monday.
Oh, not for the 3:30 am wake up-especially when I couldn’t sleep (surprise!!) and was up until nearly 2am.
But the routine is back, and I am happy for that.

Don’t get me wrong, the past 10 days of the family being all together, the friends who came to visit, the family who came out too…all great stuff. 10 days of free ranging it? Yeah, also good stuff. But, as usual, during any free ranging time, my brain starts to get frustrated…there’s a pattern, a process, to my day. Things need to be done, and on time. Oh, and work?
Yeah, nothing happened. Ideas happened, and some testing of a new product/method happened, but those were simple day-to-day things. Not hands on, get my hands dusty and dirty, w.o.r.k.

That’s what I’m back to today. And I’m happy for it. 🙂 Once The Kid is off to school, I’ll turn up the stereo and start putting out some jewelry. Then, I can do the photography work to get it up here…oh, and I have some festive fun photos from the holidays, where friends came out to have pictures taken with The Girls. I have those to edit too.

And now, with a picture and smile, off to work I go…

Look at how fuzzy Sable is! That's her winter coat around the girth...

Look at how fuzzy Sable is! That’s her winter coat around the girth…

Memories, Dreams and Reflections 2015

This is the end of year photographic wind up, hosted by Ashley Sisk of Scavenger Hunt Sunday fame.
I really enjoyed doing this last year, even though it took me nearly all day! It was fun though, to look back at all the pictures I had taken and to choose the ones that worked best with the prompts.
I’m just going to jump into the prompts without listing them first, because, well, there’s 25 of them.

Let’s start!

Me!

<3 <3 <3

❤ ❤ ❤

Me and my favorite horse. My bestest Girl. No surprise that any picture I choose of myself has her in it.

I Love You

without the saddleNot only do I love them, but these two love each other. I can trust that horse to keep The Kid safe, no matter what. Our Sable is a blessing, for sure!

Still Laughing

Hubby and Ruby 2015 tongueI’m still laughing about Ruby and her in-front-of-the-camera antics…

Laughing RooShe’s a card, that horse…

Laughing Roo2And she knows how to play to the camera!

Winter Wonderland

I had to go all the way back to March for this…we haven’t had enough snow yet to get some great asshat-ery shots, so here’s last winter’s Bella and the Ball series for some Winter Wonderland fun…

Evil ball!! Popped out and scared here...

Evil ball!!
Popped out and scared her…

"What the hell Ball?!?"

“What the hell Ball?!?”

Get away! Get away!

Get away! Get away!

Bella and the Ball5“Ima teach you, ball!”

Birthday

Cookie is the only one of the Girls whose birthday I know for sure. That’s because it’s on her registration papers. When her birthday comes around, everybody gets a chance to wear the birthday hat though…

Daphne modeling the birthday hat.

Daphne modeling the birthday hat.

Then came Astrid...

Then came Astrid…

Sable Birthday Hat

Ruby Birthday Hat1

And finally, the Birthday Girl herself…

Cookie Birthday1

Friends

What better for friends, than images of Cookie and Felix?

2 black and white ones

Or Nancy and Daisy Mae?

Nancy and Daisy Mae
Or the 4 horses together?

Jolly Balls2🙂

I Was Inspired

Remembrance Day was the inspiration for these shots…

"Soldier's Daughter"

“Soldier’s Daughter”

"Soldier's Horse"

“Soldier’s Horse”

Spring Fever

Spring fever always bring on the Krazy Kantering Horse Games!

Sable makes the best faces, when she's being silly!

Sable makes the best faces, when she’s being silly!

And looks right at the camera when she does! "Look at me Mom! Take my picture!!"

And looks right at the camera when she does! “Look at me Mom! Take my picture!!”

They got around front, trotted up for some snuggles, and then, were off again!

They got around front, trotted up for some snuggles, and then, were off again!

Travel or Vacation

We have livestock…no such thing as a vacation. 🙂
But, we did do some traveling. Just day trips…

To a couple rodeos…

Saddle Bronc Saturday...

Saddle Bronc Saturday…

After the ride...I was torn on whether or not to share this one. It's a powerful image, and yet, it feels like I, as the photographer, am intruding on the rider's pain.

After the ride…I was torn on whether or not to share this one. It’s a powerful image, and yet, it feels like I, as the photographer, am intruding on the rider’s pain.

Freedom!!!

Freedom!!!

We also made our weekly trips to the Stable, where Hubby has been assisting with the rebuild of the owner’s home after a fire consumed it in May.

progress3

Summer Days

More rodeo shots, because our summer days were filled with rodeo fun and much editing afterwards.

Saddle bronc, sans rider

Saddle bronc, sans rider

Saddle bronc

Saddle bronc

And, with rodeo pictures, I learned a new editing technique…

Here's a sample of that new technique I learned.

Here’s a sample of that new technique I learned.

A Day In My Life

A day in my life has this:

Dorkite

Dorkite

And this:

Tools of the stinky trade...containers, toothbrushes and paper towels. And a place to do it outside...

Tools of the stinky trade…containers, toothbrushes and paper towels. And a place to do it outside…

And this:

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.

And this:

"Mine! Mine! Mine!"

“Mine! Mine! Mine!”

In short, a day in my life is a mixture of mad crazy motion being photographed, quiet work on jewelry and the day-to-day running of a hobby farm.

All Smiles

Hello Not-Bob!

Hello Not-Bob!

I was all smiles when this guy showed up.
Seen a couple of others since. Makes me smile every time. 🙂

Autumn Harvest

Blue Bean Killer

Blue Bean Killer

As the garden was finishing up, BlueCat decided to help me with the final bean harvest…

Storm

Storm

While StormCat did what every good farm cat should do…

Home

Home is where my Girls are.

My symbol of Home

My symbol of Home…the 4 nags together.

Celebrate

We had many celebrations here this past year. And many that I took pictures at. My favorite (at least photographically) was our Samhain bonfire. I really enjoyed taking pictures of the bonfire.

A few folks standing 'round the fire.

A few folks standing ’round the fire.

This ^^^ was my favorite one of the night.

Let’s Do It Again

The garden. Because we’re gonna do it again…and again, and again, and again…

Corn!!

Corn!!

Rows of tomatoes

Rows of tomatoes

A row of lettuce

A row of lettuce

Purple pole bean flowers

Purple pole bean flowers

I Miss You

Yeah, I got nothing for this one.
The folks who made the choice to leave my life this past year are gone, and I don’t have the energy, or the urge, to miss them.

Beautiful

Sable and Astrid

Sable and Astrid

Yup, they sure are!

Dress Up

Hahahahaha!!!
Happens a lot here…we dress up the horses. 🙂

MudaMino!

MudaMino!

And sometimes, they dress themselves up…in mud!

MudaStrid

MudaStrid

You know the mud was bad when Astrid is covered!

MudaRoo

MudaRoo

Really, Ruby does have white spots…

MudaCoo

MudaCoo

So muddy, her white neck spots are gone!

Macro

Love those short, fuzzy hairs...and the colors. She just makes me smile. :)

Love those short, fuzzy hairs…and the colors. She just makes me smile. 🙂

Holidays

We did a bunny ear hat for Easter:

Astrid 1 eared it...

Astrid 1 eared it…

No surprise, Sable wore it like a champ!

No surprise, Sable wore it like a champ!

Cookie was not. happy. >:(

Cookie was not. happy. 😡

My Favorite

This is a tough one. I had a ton of great shots in 2015. Finally, I settled on the Miniature Lions.

Miniature Lions

Don’t Ever Change

Cookie

Cookie

I don’t want her to change.
I love her just the way she is, Miserable Cow and all.
I do want her to learn and grow and be the very best horse she can be…all while keeping that amazing, sweet personality (yes, it is in there!!) and incredible heart.

Just Because…So There!

Best. Joke. Ever!

Best. Joke. Ever!

It’s a terrible angle.
It looks like her head isn’t even attached to her body.
It’s odd and just plain off.
But, it makes me smile and I love it.
So there.

Hopes and Dreams

Hopes…
I hope to grow so much more food on the Farm in 2016.
The chicken coop is done, and ready for birds.
We have the spot picked out for a couple of feeder piglets.
The garden seeds are picked and ready to be ordered.

I am tired of being a slave to food prices in grocery stores.
I am tired of someone else growing my meats and eggs.
I am tired of not being hands on in our meat eating.

It’s time to utilize as much of this land that we have worked so hard for, to grow our food. Not just the fruits and veggies, but the meats as well.

Dreams…

I dream of getting on Cookie.
Of taking the next steps in her training. Not until her feet are 100% grown out. We are so close…once those cracks are gone, then, then, I can seriously consider getting up on her. Not before though.

I dream of Equi~Gems becoming my full-time job.
Not just fits and starts, here and there. But solid, steady work, that brings solid, steady $$$ into the Farm.
I’m working on it.
I am happy with the new gemstone settings.
I am happy with the new earrings I’ve been working on.
I am excited to share those with you all!

Most of all, my hopes and dreams revolve around the happiness of everyone who calls Midnight Calico Farm home.

The Kid.
Hubby.
The Girls.
Daphne.
The Marauding Hoarde.
The Meatloaves.
And yeah, even myself.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous 2016.
Not just for us at Midnight Calico Farm.
For all of you, our readers and followers, too.

Hubby and Ruby 2015 tongueRuby says…”It shall be so!”

Sharing with Ashley Sisk, who is hosting Memories, Dreams and Reflections.

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. ❤

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.

We Went A-Rodeo-In

To take pictures that is.
That’s where I’ve been all week…instead of posting here on the blog, I’ve been editing rodeo pictures.
After 2 days of shooting, I had 1841 images to process.
First run through has me down to 302 images left.
I have a file of 50 images, so far, that are definite keepers. Here’s a few of them…

Canadian Flag bearer from Sunday's opening ceremonies.

Canadian Flag bearer from Sunday’s opening ceremonies.

Mutton Bustin!! So. Freakin'. Cute! :D

Mutton Bustin!!
So. Freakin’. Cute! 😀

One of Saturday’s barrel racers…One of my favorite shots of the day!

After the ride...I was torn on whether or not to share this one. It's a powerful image, and yet, it feels like I, as the photographer, am intruding on the rider's pain.

After the ride…I was torn on whether or not to share this one. It’s a powerful image, and yet, it feels like I, as the photographer, am intruding on the rider’s pain.

Saddle Bronc Sunday.

Saddle Bronc Sunday.

Freedom!!!

Freedom!!!

One of the many talented Barrel racing Ladies on her run Home...

One of the many talented Barrel racing Ladies on her run Home…

I’m still working on edits from Sunday’s shoot, but, I also finished this:

Dorkite

Dorkite

When it’s a piece for me, it’s called “Dorkite” because Dork is my pet name for my Cookie. Dorkite are those special pieces that I just can’t let go of. This one is from the first trim that she handed our trimmer Michele her foot. It’s a pretty special piece, because before that, no matter how she tried, Cookie couldn’t get a proper balance to hold her foot up long enough for Michele to get a good trim on her. This piece is from a break through trim, after months of me asking for, getting, and helping Cookie figure out how to balance herself of 3 feet all over again. I was pretty damn proud of her, and so too, was Michele. And so, this is my piece.

Set with an emerald, in 14k gold, I was thrilled to finally finish it, and put it on. 🙂

Now onto my next pieces…an order from a father/daughter duo, who want pendants from their paint mare. They’ve given me 4 pieces of hoof to work with, and carte blanche to create any sort of pendant that pops into my head.
Nice.
I love that kind of freedom in a commission. 🙂

Catching Up

Well now, I fell off the face of the planet again didn’t I? At least, here on the blog, I did! It’s been a busy time since I last posted. Much picture-taking/editing and processing. Learned a new technique in processing and had to play with that…it also brought to mind so many ideas I want to photograph!

So, where did we go that I took so many pictures?
Why, to the rodeo!! The Arborg Fair and Rodeo, to be precise.
So many pictures. So much work to do afterwards. So worth it!
Almost a week worth of work, and now, I’m ready for the next rodeo we’re attending in August.
Here’s some samples…

The cowboy meeting before it all got started

The cowboy meeting before it all got started

Here's a sample of that new technique I learned.

Here’s a sample of that new technique I learned.

This is one of 2 flag bearers who rode around the arena flying the flag while the national anthem was playing.
I was hesitant to take pictures during that time, but Hubby-who is one of the most patriotic people I have ever met!-assured me, that taking pictures was fine. Thank goodness, because this is, as far as I’m concerned, one of my best shots ever. 🙂

Saddle bronc

Saddle bronc

Saddle bronc, sans rider

Saddle bronc, sans rider

This silly boy...*sigh* decided he wanted to turn in the chute. Thankfully, he didn't hurt himself, he just turned around and settled back down.

This silly boy…*sigh* He decided he wanted to turn in the chute. Thankfully, he didn’t hurt himself, he just turned around and settled back down.

I love this horse...just have to say.

I love this horse…just have to say.

This lady was trying to get her horse into the arena for the barrel race...horse was having none of it!

This lady was trying to get her horse into the arena for the barrel race…horse was having none of it!

Bull riding...

Bull riding…

Bull Rider9^^^This bull was something else.
He layed down in the chute before the ride even started, and then, after the ride, he didn’t want to leave the arena. He had to be roped and encouraged to the exit, but before they could get him to leave, he threw himself down on the ground.

"You can't make me leave, puny humans!"

“You can’t make me leave, puny humans!”

"Pfft! Try to move me now!"

“Pfft! Try to move me now!”

"I spit in the face of you puny humans...hey! Grain!"

“I spit in the face of you puny humans…hey! Grain!”

And away out the exit he went. 😉

One of the Team Roping cowboys...

One of the Team Roping cowboys…

After the parade, we were going over to the Fair Grounds, and driving through town, we saw this…

Yard Giraffe

Yard Giraffe!

My Hubby, ever the patient man, turned around when asked to, so friend Shaila and I could take pictures of the giraffe.
Her rodeo shots can be seen here…
Arborg Fair & Rodeo

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday saw us back in the city, visiting with friends, and delivering some Equi~Gems.

Paul was the winner of our contest.

Paul was the winner of our contest.

We were finally able to get his prize to him, and he is now the proud owner of a Midnight Meteorite Equi~Gem. 🙂
His lovely wife Toosh, was one of our 6 finalists, so she received one as well…

Yay for horsey prizes!

Yay for horsey prizes!

I’m low on Midnight Meteorite pieces, so she had the opportunity to choose from the others as well. After much deliberation, she settled on a Rubidium piece. 🙂

While we visited them, I took a whole bunch of pictures in their Backyard Jungle. Oh, it’s a beautiful space! So many flowers, so much wildlife (bees, bunnies, butterflies), and so calm and relaxing.
I’m working on those images, and will share them when I’m done.

~~~~~~~~~~~

And then…there was the mead.
Checking on the gallon jugs, to find that the Joe’s Ancient Orange is clearing…

WooHoo!

WooHoo!

It’s still bubbling, but it’s working nicely. The claim is, with this recipe, that once the fruit settles on the bottom it’s ready to drink. Others say it’s even better after bottling and aging for a few months.
Well, Ima try both. 😉
I figure, taste it while it’s young, to see if the underlying flavor is good, put one bottle up for aging, and see if we like that better. And, once bottled, start another batch…assuming we like the taste of it. I may even start a 5 gallon batch.
I might be enjoying this a little too much…

NAH!!

Introducing…Equi-Gems

Equi-Gems are cut and polished organic gems made from the clippings of horse hooves. Every Equi-Gem is unique work of art.
No two are alike.
The pieces can come from the same horse, the same hoof, in the same trimming session, and will still be completely unique in their coloring.

Why Equi-Gems?
Why not?!? Every 4-6 weeks, horses need to have their hooves trimmed for good hoof health.
Sure the trimmings can be left for the dogs (our Daphne loves them!), but, they can also be turned into a one of a kind piece of jewelry to honor the bond you have with your equine.

How about some examples?
The following pieces are made from our horses, all are set in sterling silver, and all are for sale…

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Check out our Equi-Gems page on the side bar for more info on each piece, pricing, and contact info.

 

E is for Equi-Gems.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday.