Thursday, September 29, 2011

Catatonic Humor

Paisley has been getting a little closer to nature---chick nature, that is. The other day I came out of the shop to find him under the chick's heat lamp and was grooming himself. All the chicks were huddled in the corner wondering who the intruder was. Screen installed over chick house!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not Quite Napa....

..... but they are getting ripe, and tasty and heck, they're ours so I think they are pretty wonderful! We planted these concord grapes by our backyard raspberries three years ago after having tried growing concords out by the big garden (to no avail). They had a few grapes last year but just before they ripened they disappeared....... birds, bees, squirrels.....who knows who got to enjoy them. 'Twas not us!

Wisconsin vineyards are literally a growing concern and there are getting to be many in our area. Maybe we will rival the Napa/Sonoma Valley someday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Chick Day at Catfish Corner

Summer went by too quickly, so I'm behind in getting new chicks started. Yesterday was the delivery date of my day old chicks. Twelve Gold Stars and 12 Black Australorps, and a rooster of each variety. Look out Louie---Louie II and Louie III are in the house.

Here is a new Little Louie. He has a paint dot on his head to identify him as a rooster.

I put up the larger chick pen today and got them moved out of their baby box and into an area with two heat lamps and more room to roam. 

Maggie is thoroughly mesmerized by them. They are so tiny and spritely that she can't help but enjoy their movements and little peeps. Even Paisley cat came over for a visit. He's harmless and the chicks seem to realize he isn't interested in hurting them.

Now, if I had a nice broody hen who would like to "mother hen" this group...... will have to see if I there are any volunteers.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Showy Blossom - Cardinal Flower

We found a little nest of these bright blooms on our way to Maggie's hunting grounds. The photo doesn't even do it justice with its brilliant red against the green leaves.

It's called a Cardinal Flower and according to Stan Tekiela's "Wild Flowers of Wisconsin" they are found throughout the state, preferring wet, shade, along streams and wetlands. They are poor reproducers perhaps because they can only be pollinated by hummingbirds. Thank you, hummers, for keeping our little patch well pollinated.

I might add that there were several spikes like this one and they seem to be thriving in the cool, wet, swampy area where we found it. It's one of those "do not dig" wild ones that won't survive in a home garden, although cultivated varieties are available at garden centers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beaten, Bruised, Battered.....Dipped and Fried

Such was my experience at the Wings Over Alma trail ride last Saturday. Of the 26 riders who took the trek into the fine city of Alma, I had the naughtiest horse. How embarrassing!

She hasn't been a naughty trail horse before, so I was surprised by her adrenalized behavior. She looks so innocent in this picture!

It was quite another picture when she was tearing me through tree branches (they don't taste as good as they look), running up hills and pushing past other horses.

Once in Alma, we tied up on the picket line next to the railroad tracks while we had refreshments at the Center. During that time I think there were three freight trains and one barge that went by and all the horses had a big training session with loud sounds. That picket line was swaying! If we had been there for the day, all would have gotten very used to the experience.

She didn't calm down all day--the way back was even hairier than the trip there. An emergency dismount as she was pointing me into head-high branches got me a excellent score from my riding buddies as a good call to evacuate. The landing, however, sent me rolling.

No damage! Yay! Naughty horse was remounted and down the hill we went. Upon arriving in the meadow in sight of the end of the trail, some of the rest of the group decided to take another half-hour loop until dinner. Noooooo thank you! I've had enough for one day. I've been beaten, bruised, battered, dipped and fried! Stick a fork in me, I'm DONE!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Maggie's Hunting Training Begins

Maggie is 6 months old now and had her spay operation two weeks ago so now it's time to get into her retrieving duties. She can't wait to have a job to do. She has so much energy she's wearing us out.

Yesterday was the first time swimming in the creek behind our house. She took to it immediately and was TOTALLY under water a couple times only to pop out and dog paddle like a fiend! She found out swimming is a lot harder than just running around so big nap followed.

This morning we introduced the air gun and a dummy laced with duck scent. It was irresistible! She had a few really good retrieves and one PERFECT one. She wanted more....but quality was starting to suffer so we called it good for today. Keep her wanting more is the ideal.

Tomorrow we'll take the .22 and make a little more noise.

It's That Time Again!

The Tour is a little over a month away and I have been SO BUSY! Haven't even had time to update the blog so I have lots of catching up to do. The link for Fresh Art is so beautiful. I don't know who did all the work, but credit is due! Each site has a little profile and photos--check it out!

I am going to, for the first time, have giclee prints of some of my work, thanks to my artist friend, Gail Pommerening. The link will take you to Gail's website. She has an archival giclee printer and is scanning and printing for me. All this while getting ready to be on the Tour, too!

Trail Ride and Art Show
We are both self-taught artists and are serving together on the Wings Over Alma art committee. And speaking of WOA, the current show is called Horse and Harvest. The artists' reception is going to be very different this time--it is also a trail ride! Saturday, Sept. 10th at 1 p.m., riders are invited to meet at Robin Secrist's ranch and we are going to ride over the hill to Alma in cattle drive fashion! But without the cows.

We will arrive at the reception which runs from 2-4 pm, tie up the horses, and will feast on cowboy themed sweet and savory treats while we enjoy the art display. Then we will ride back over the hill and have a potluck at Robin's at 5 pm. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? The best part is, you don't have to have a horse to participate.