Thursday, December 31, 2009

Transitioning to 2010

Covered Bridge (sketched from a photo in 1979)

I don't know if the bridge I drew is located in Oregon, but we have a goodly number of them, particularly in the mid-Willamette Valley. Just seemed appropriate, somehow. Crossing over into a new year, feeling battered by the old year.

2009 was such a lousy year for so many people. Some lost loved ones, their homes, life savings/retirement accounts,etc.

A good friend lost her filly to colic after breeding, rearing, and initiating the bright chestnut to saddle. I just learned of her loss and it brought a stream of tears. My friend and I had a thing for our "red-headed" mares, fiery temperaments and all. I still miss my little red gal.

For me, 2009 was not as bad as some years past. But any more I'm counting it a good year when it's dull, dull, dull.

My mother received serious medical news from her cardiologist, was placed on oxygen 24/7, and had three bad falls this summer that resulted in visits to the ER. Fortunately, no broken bones. But the spills and recovery took a lot out of her.

I was recuperating from my broken wrist at the start of 2009. All better now except for an occasional twinge to remind me that it's been remodeled.

The horse and dog had no issues during the year. Whew! Other than Indy causing a couple of my mother's falls. :-(

Financially...we were already living modestly and didn't notice much change in our lifestyle. The good news is, my 2010 health insurance premiums will be close to what they were in 2009. So my budget will remain relatively the same. In this day and age, that's a great relief.

Most of our family and friends are doing okay. That's good news whatever the calendar reads.

Resolutions for 2010? I didn't make any. I do hope to lose a few pounds, but probably won't. I'd like to participate in our small, in-barn dressage clinics if more are scheduled. That's fairly doable. I would like to complete and edit a novel into "pitchable" shape for the Willamette Writers Conference in August. I'll try. We'll see. I need to win an Oregon Megabucks or Powerball lottery in 2010. Ha! I'd like everyone to be genuinely surprised that I'm *0 when I hit another milestone birthday in 2010. That could require some airbrushing.'s to a happy and prosperous 2010 to everyone.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Back!

I saw the neighbor's frosty roof on my first peek out the window. It looked awfully white and heavy, so I investigated further. Another morning of frozen fog, but so heavy it looked like snow!

Indy enjoyed our morning walk to the nearby city park, licking up frost the entire way.

Then while eating breakfast I glanced out the window and it was "snowing!" Very fine, powdered sugar stuff. I wasn't sure if it really qualified as snow or just crystalized foggy moisture. Anyway, it had the effect displayed above. A quick pic from the front porch.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Stills: Odds and Ends

Mismatched spurs with an old pair of my string gloves:

Musical odds and ends from Dad and Grandpa:

WWII odds and ends from Mom:

No better way to conclude;
one of Dad's paintings of musical odds and ends:

Check out the efforts of contributors to Sunday Stills.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

White Christmas After All

Christmas Day began with freezing fog that coated everything with a dusting of white.

The fog dampened the noise of what little traffic there was on the road...much like the effect of snow.

Indy loves to eat snow or, in this case, frost. Here he is in his jaunty red Christmas kerchief with a smudge of frost on his nose:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Very Merry

Hope your holidays are warm and fuzzy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

True Confessions

I haven't worked on "Legacy" for weeks now. I stumbled on a climactic scene and, other than adding a sentence or two, I haven't pushed through the problem.


My First Reader, Emily, will rag on me for this. I'm in deep doo doo.

But I have been working on my writing -- sort of. I started research on a story idea I've had for some time. The working title is "Resistance Fighter" which isn't an accurate description of the story line but that's what sparked the idea for the tale.

And I've started brainstorming scenes for "Water Tribute." I've been working on this story for decades and have half a rough draft. But I've reworked it using Larry Brooks' "Story Structure" for the outline, and I'm sketching scenes using Laura Whitcomb's Shortcut-to-the-Scene from her Novel Shortcuts.

(By the way, Brooks says Writer's Digest Books has picked up his "Six Core Competencies" for publication!!)

So...not as productive as I'd like to be, but still playing with words.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Too Funny

Australian photographer Julian Wolkenstein uses "pony pinup style," or horses with hair extensions, to shoot an advertising campaign. But coming up with the idea was the easy part, of course. “The horses didn’t cope well with the lighting and direction,” Wolkenstein, 37, complains. “Each horse had four hours of grooming and styling before coming onto the set. Then they would shake their heads and we would have to re-dress them.”

Came upon this in the September 2009 issue of Reader's Digest.

Find more of Wolkenstein's unique commercial photography at his web site.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Too Good to Be True

You know when your holiday preparations are going's too good to be true.

My father, the artist and musician, used to draw the family's annual Christmas cards and everyone looked forward to his artwork and cartoons. I can sketch a little and, somewhere along the line, I started doing the same. Now folks expect unique cards from me.

I usually make a sketch of an equine scene, have the picture printed on card stock, and place a seasonal message on the inside. The leftovers can be used as notecards for any occasion.

Here's an example of a past card:

I can't remember what holiday message I used for the above, but you get the idea.

So I had the cards and envelopes for this year printed and ready to go. Mailing labels were ready to peel and stick. Typed the message and cut it out with scrap-booking scissors. Swiped the message with a glue stick and pasted it inside the pre-counted cards.

Moving right along. Piece of cake. Holiday cards will be completed in plenty of time this year.

Do you hear the ominous music in the background?

Turns out, I pasted the message onto the wrong side of the cards! Every one of them was stuck to the back of the picture instead of the interior of the card where the greeting should be read when the card is opened. That's what I get for watching The Philadelphia Story while working on cards.

Of course, the glue stick worked marvelously and removing the message only leaves behind an unacceptable torn mess. ARGH!

I've messed up an envelope or two in past years, but this is the first time I've completely ruined the cards!

So it was back to the printer today. The replacement cards should be ready by Thursday. Meanwhile, I'll work with the cards that are left.

Everyone knows Christmas preparations never go smoothly. What was I thinking?!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thawed Out

His Fuzziness, The Goober Boy:

Temperatures finally moderated on the west side of the Cascades, but not without lots of problems. Saturday was a treacherous icy transition in the southern end of the Willamette Valley, resulting in several serious traffic accidents.

After dealing with frozen stall waterers, ice-blocked pipes, and skating-rink water troughs in the turnouts -- Susan and Chris had to deal with burst pipes in the little barn that flooded the tack room and feed room. No tack ruined -- everything was up off the floor and a couple of pair of boots were snatched to safety. Most of the feed is kept in garbage cans, so the loss was minimal. Kudos to them and all stable owners and managers who tend to our horses during extreme conditions.

During last week's Deep Freeze I made a couple of quick trips to check on Phantom. Today was my first day back in the saddle. Just walk work to get him relaxed and bending. I did alternating 10 meter circles down the center line to work on me and Phantom.

Since the horses are gradually being introduced to their winter paddocks, I immediately turned out Phantom when finished instead of letting him free graze. As expected, the Arabian "herd" was the most sensible of the geldings. (wink) Phantom, Pugsley, and Dansuan settled quietly into their winter digs. The rest of the geldings were goofballs when transferred to their winter turnouts. Must have been giddy over the new growth of grass.

Moe, the senior member of the CEC Critter Control Staff, was poking around the little barn and demanded lap time. So I complied. He's the lone survivor of the original staff and deserving of some loves.

Indy was a little miffed that I was directing my attention elsewhere, and to a cat! Then, when Mufasa and Scar decided to join Moe, poor Indy was really perplexed. Adding insult to injury, the youngsters hissed at Indy who was greatly distressed by the turn of events.

So on the way home I made up to Indy by taking him for a walk on a path I rarely visit. In fact, I think it was his first time at the locale. All was forgiven.

Now we go from temperatures in the teens to 50+ degrees!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

No Wonder....

No wonder my money doesn't go as far as it used to.

It appears that my net income is 55% of my gross annual income.

Health insurance premiums (medical and dental) come to 24% of my gross income. Add in federal and state income taxes...and I'm left with 55% of my retirement benefit to live on.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Princess Trixie Diary

Indy and Trixie

Trixie returned home yesterday. Made for a quiet evening and much less complicated (but less interesting) morning walk.

Trixie was beside herself when she discovered my aunt and uncle on the front porch yesterday. Piddly, wiggly, dancy doxie! Definitely one happy puppy.

My aunt reported that Trixie vociferously reclaimed the yard and house as her own upon arrival. Once inside, Trixie pranced through her premises.

It will be fun to watch Indy and Trixie when reunited at Christmas. Could be a rambunctious meeting!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Stills: Pets

Fluffy Puppy
One of Indy's favorite sleep poses. He wedges himself against the sofa and rolls over onto his back. "Fluffy puppy" is self explanatory.

Who? Us?
Indy and Trixie called a time out while playing as soon as the camera came out. But I think these poses tell it all.

One third of the CEC Critter Control Staff. Brother Scar was mauling a mouse on Friday. "Good mouser. Now gnaw on it elsewhere!"

Visit Sunday Stills for more photos.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Princess Trixie Diary

Trixie models the latest in canine rainwear.

Trixie is scheduled to return home tomorrow. I can't wait to see her reaction when her "Mom" and "Dad" appear at the door.

Indy and Trixie have taken to regular play periods recently. They've had brief moments of play since Trixie arrived, but within the last week they've taken to playing for extended periods. One night they were wrestling and chasing for half an hour! They are hysterical to watch. Trixie jumps on Indy and bites at his ruff -- ending up with a mouthful of hair. Last night she looked like she had a gray goatee. Indy is so much larger than Trixie, but he gets down to her level and even rolls onto his side as they tussle. During the run and chase portion of play, either Trixie runs underneath Indy, or he leaps over her.

Trixie arrived with food, treats, toys, crate, and her established habits. We'll be sending her home with some new expectations. Like two good walks per day (full of sights and smells), peanut butter mixed in her breakfast, an ice cube to crunch when I fill my glass from the refrigerator dispenser, a bite of banana when I slice one up for breakfast, and evening lap time when my mother reads the newspaper.

Who's a spoiled puppy?

I wonder how Indy will take her departure? His single-dog kingdom was conquered and occupied by the little German Princess. She confiscated ice cubes, treats, and Indy's space beneath the table at meal times. Then again, Indy seemed to enjoy her company during our twice-daily walks, and their romps through the house.

It will definitely be a new adjustment when Princess Trixie returns home.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Princess Trixie Diary

Flying Ears

Trixie = 2, shoes = 0

We were forewarned that Trixie had a penchant for gnawing on shoes. So the damage is all our own fault.

Trixie chewed on a slipper in my mother's open closet. Fortunately, it was one of a pair of slippers that she didn't wear because they don't fit.

I took a shower the other day and tossed my clothes on the bed and placed my Ariat paddock boots on a chair. Now, these are a pair of paddock boots that never went to the barn. I used to wear them to work and with jeans. They are (were) at least ten years old if not pushing 15. Still wearable, but well seasoned.

Anyway, I must have left a lace dangling over the edge of the chair because after the shower I discovered one boot on the floor well gnawed around the top. Now the pair are goners.

Miss Trixie must be watched at all times or you never know what she'll get into.

Miss Trixie believes it's only right that she's the center of attention. ;-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why I Love My Horse

It was "barber shop" day at the barn. Instead of riding I brushed out and re-banded Phantom's mane before doing some Christmas shopping. While I was chatting with Genevieve, both Mufasa and Scar jumped up onto Phantom's back.

G. captured these photos with her cell phone, since I'd left my camera at home on the dreary, cloudy day (lousy light).

Not only did Phantom not flinch when the kitties leapt onto his back -- he was half asleep as they curled up around each other. About all he did was grinch when a set of claws were extended. After the first kitty jumped down I removed the second one while there was still peace in the barn aisle.

Phantom is definitely a keeper!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Stills: The Letter "T"

This week's challenge was the letter "T." First...the literal interpretations:

Next, the representative photos:

"T" is for Trot:

"T" is for Tack Boxes:

"T" is for Table:

"T" is for Tail Bag:
And that's the end.

For more interpretations of the letter "T," visit Sunday Stills.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

Photo credit: Emily Dueker (2008)

So much we take for granted.

A few weeks ago, a woman complained in a letter to the editor of our weekly suburban newspaper that a local gas station attendant had been rude to her. The employee's "insulting" behavior included what I interpreted to be an attempt at humor. Whatever. The slight didn't include theft, or physical threat or injury. Merely a comment that she didn't appreciate.

My first thought on reading the letter was: This woman has lived a very sheltered and privileged life. If an offhand comment by a gas station attendant warrants a letter to the editor, then I can only assume that the woman has never experienced the death or serious illness of a loved one, she has never faced a potential life-altering illness or injury herself. She must always have had a safe and secure home, not to mention comfortable income. She's never survived a natural disaster. Never been robbed or accosted. You get the gist of my thoughts.

Basically...this woman must be extremely fortunate if a perceived slight from a gas station attendant is worth a scathing letter to the editor. The writer had no appreciation of how good she's had it!

So at this time of year I, like so many others, assess the things for which I am appreciative.

I am thankful that my mother is still with us. She turned 87 this year and had some health setbacks after taking three spills this summer. I am thankful that she broke no bones as a result of her falls. She has slowed down somewhat and is now on supplemental oxygen 24/7 -- but she still sews (a lifelong interest), does light housework, and balances her checkbook.

I am thankful for my good health (aided and abetted by Dr. Cindy and Dr. Stan). I'm experiencing a few initial "aging" issues, but otherwise doing pretty darned good (aside from a metabolism at a dead halt).

I am thankful for our house. It is the nicest place I have ever lived and I confess that for the first few years I felt awkward and undeserving residing in such (to me) plush surroundings. Obviously, I lack a sense of Entitlement. I could use use a little more. Not so much as to be as obnoxious as some I observe, but enough to make me stand up for what I truly deserve. I'm getting better as I accumulate experience and a wee bit of chutzpah.

I'm thankful for some family members. Come on! Confess. Some of our relatives are real pains. I'm thankful that not many of my blood relations plague me, and that I have (and have had) some real gems.

I am thankful for the friends I've made over the years. At school, work, the barn, and elsewhere. I may not remain in contact with many of them, but they've all touched me in some manner and made me a better person in many ways.

I am thankful for the fur people in my life, past and present. An infinitely patient childhood dog, a first horse who gave me wings, and other fur people who have loved me despite my many shortcomings.

I am thankful that I live in a country and an era where and when an unmarried woman is free to hold a full time job and live independently. I may vote, I may own property, I may sign a contract in my own right. Women gave their lives in this very country to guarantee me these rights.

And I am thankful for polyester fleece, seam-sealed waterproof outerwear, German chocolate cake, Norman Rockwell, Jane Austen, television and video entertainment (tapes, dvds, and whatever comes next), Oregon (the dream and the reality), the main branch Multnomah County Library, and much too much to list here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Stills: Horses

The subject of this challenge was easy for me; however, conditions at the barn were less than helpful. I chose to leave the camera home during the miserable wet and blustery days.

But I did have one dry day at the barn this past week so I captured Phantom in his fuzzy winter glory. He doesn't seem to get quite as fluffy as some of the other horses, but he still puts on a coat for winter.

The following are from my archives.

Cooling Out

Last Trail Ride of the Season

Flying Change


Ed at Sunday Stills is the mastermind behind the photo challenges. Check out the creative work of the bloggers who follow him.

For some reason the link to my blog was deleted from Ed's list of contributors. I must have done something to offend, but I'm not sure what. Oh well.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Princess Trixie Diary

Ach, Himmel!! Princess Trixie is losing weight and developing a waistline!! As long as the weather is dry, she's eager to go outside and trots out or runs to keep up with Indy who is usually at the end of his 15-foot Flexi Leash.

Got a chuckle out of our German Princess today. We were at one of the pocket parks in the vicinity and Trixie rolled onto her back to get a good scratch on the grass. She was on a slight slope and inadvertently did a 360 rollover downhill! Not what she had in mind, I'm sure. I unwrapped the leash and we were on our way again.

Speaking of accidents. I think Indy had another encounter with the hot wire at the barn yesterday. We were all alone and I turned him loose while I returned Phantom to his turnout paddock. When I turned to walk back I saw Indy hauling butt toward the little barn where he disappeared. The last time I witnessed him do that was when he checked out that wire below the paddock tape. Since Indy generally watches me with Phantom while keeping his distance, I figured something was up. I think he hid in the feed room because I couldn't find him when I reached the barn. He was sure glad to receive a reassuring hug when he came out of hiding. Man, he's going to turn into a poodle yet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Princess Trixie Diary

Yes, that's Indy's bed usurped by the cutest mini doxie on the block. Actually, Indy uses the bed only on rare occasion, since he sleeps in his crate. Still....

We're settling into a routine and Trixie has figured out what our walks are for. She's made it clear that she doesn't do rain, so my mother is searching her fabric stash for the length of water-resistant material that she knows is there. (Anyone who sews or lives with a sewer knows that "She who dies with the most fabric, wins.")

Actually, we've temporarily added another source of laughter to the house. Trixie walks underneath Indy when he stops to drink from the decorative bird-bath stone beside our front walk. He isn't fazed in the least and Trixie doesn't even have to duck. Trixie discovered a faux sheepskin "dog bone" toy that doesn't interest Indy. She rolls onto her back as she hugs and flips it with her feet (she broke the squeaker within the first minute of play).

Her Highness Princess Trixie has staked a claim on my mother and me. She barks and snarls at Indy when she catches me giving him some loves, and chases him away from everything in the house she now considers to be hers.

Quite the education for me in dog breed personalities. Indy learned within a day or two to ring a bell to signal his desire to go outside. Trixie stubbornly refuses to pick up on the signal. Such is the difference between a herding dog bred to work with humans, and a go-to-ground dachshund bred to face a badger alone. :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who's In Charge Here?

Indy's "cousin" Trixie is visiting us for a few weeks while her people (my aunt and uncle) are out of town.

"All right, what did you do with my people?"

"They went thisaway."

Trixie is a miniature dachshund with their typical stubborn attitude. A little "German Princess." This is only her second full day with us, so we're still settling into a routine. But she has a brand new fleece coat (sewn last night by my mother) that came in handy during this morning's frosty walk.

One more demanding animal. ARGH!

Phantom demands a scratch under his bridle at the mounting block before I climb aboard. And upon returning to the little barn after my ride, Phantom demands cookies from the treat jar sitting atop the tack trunk in front of his stall.

Indy signals his demand to go outside with a ring of the bells hanging from the front door handle. Every evening he demands a game of keep-away by grabbing a toy or licked-clean paper plate or bowl and flipping the item until I take up the chase.

Trixie demands lap time any and every time my mother or I create one. She also demands space in my bed at night before falling asleep in her crate. Since Indy sleeps in his crate, his cousin Trixie is relegated to a crate also.

I already had two demanding animals in my life. Now I've added a third for a few weeks.

What was I thinking?! ;-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting There

Character Building

Many "how to" resources include character sheets to help the author develop primary and secondary characters for fictional works. The author fills in the obvious physical parameters (height, hair and eye color, etc.), education, interests & hobbies, favorite color, and so forth. Then there are the deeper personality aspects. What skills to the characters bring to the story? What are the main characters' weaknesses? What are the characters' greatest fears.

I like to locate pictures to represent my main characters. Sometimes the picture inspires the character. Sometimes I have a vague idea for the character and locating a picture helps me complete the personality.

I came upon these pictures decades ago:

This is Aisley, the protagonist of Legacy, my current YA project. These pictures created in my mind the image of a slender, petite young woman who inspired the loyalty of battle-hardened men. On the order of Joan of Arc. But my rendering of the circumstances in the world of my making.

World Building

As to creating a world for a fantasy or science fiction novel, I highly recommend visiting Patricia C. Wrede's "Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions" at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America web site.

Another great site to assist with world building is Elfwood. Check out the Fantasy Art Resource Project (FARP), in particular, the contributions from Emma Lydia Bates and Michael James Liljenberg.

When creating a world and culture...I prefer to cheat. That is, I research historical time periods and locations to help answer the questions posed by the above-referenced world building sites. Now, I always thought that this was a pretty obvious approach -- until a fellow conference attendee asked how to go about creating a setting for her fantasy novel.

I like to do my research before I begin writing because I often stumble across social, cultural, historical tidbits that spark ideas for the story. A situation or event I wouldn't otherwise have considered.

And sometimes I research a location or time period that seems totally unrelated to the intended setting for my story. Most recently I read about 1950s Havana for a "space opera" story that I've been mulling around for a long time.

Writer's Block

I'm currently at a standstill on Legacy. I suspect I'm over thinking the scenes and I should just put words on the computer screen. Right, Em?

But what I find myself doing is moving on to another story idea. Outlining scenes for Water Tribute, or doing research for another story idea like Resistance Fighters. Then when I return to Legacy, it's fresh and interesting again.

Really...writing a novel is not for the faint of heart.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Stills: Currency

Giant pennies among our Halloween "treats:"

"Valuables" collected during dog walks:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not Just for Arabians

Another Perspective

Patrick Swayze is featured in the cover story of the October/November issue of Modern Arabian Horse. The media retrospectives done at his death focused on Swayze's acting career and made little, if any, mention of his equestrian activities. The MAH article portrays Swayze as just another horse lover -- someone we can all identify with.

Great Idea

The October/November issue of MAH highlights On the Cuff in it's "What's in Store" section. On the Cuff is a donut-shaped sponge that fits around the wrist to prevent water from running down the arm while doing chores, such as bathing a horse, washing a car or windows, etc. I could have used a pair this past summer!

Good Information

The "Bits & Bites" section of MAH alerts folks to the availability of "Horse Owner's Field Guide to Toxic Plants." The book "...includes the 100 most common and toxic plants found in pastures, backyards, around barns and along trails." The Two Horse Enterprises web site offers many useful books for horse owners. Check it out.

"Bits & Bites" also refers riders to Troxel's Safety Resource Center where we can find up-to-date helmet protection information. The site includes "close call" stories where riders post their firsthand experiences with falls, kicks, etc.

Hauling your horse to a show or trail ride? The "Book Nook" portion of "Bits & Bites" advises readers that all seven Horse Tales for the Soul books are available on audio CD. Each of the stories is reportedly read by actual Horse Tales authors from around the world. Each book has more than 4.5 hours of stories to listen to. So you may be inclined to take the long route to your destination. Available at The Complete Pet or Horse Tales For The Soul.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gone ridin'

We enjoyed another day of unseasonably warm and dry weather in the Pacific Northwest.

Trainer Tracey and I schooled our horses in the outdoor arena -- taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and our wonderful addition to the facility. I suspect Marilyn took Cody outside for a the least.

Genevieve and Molly went for a trail ride. Probably the last one of the year.

Char and Mick gave Pugsley and bath with plans to clip him for the winter. Dirty hair clogs clippers big time, thus the rush to bathe during one of our last nice days of the fall.

And those are just the folks I know about who absorbed some rays while at the barn today.

Holding off the cold, wet, gray months as long as we can.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Proud "Aunt"

Emily was recently recognized for her artistic efforts by Young Life. Check out her winning T-shirt design. She's always been a giving person, and she's very much enjoying the friendships she's made through Young Life.

The contest win is another feather in her cap as she pursues a degree in art before establishing herself as a professional photographer.

Brother Steven began studies in fire science this fall as he goes after his bachelor's degree. He talks about the excitement of dealing with unexpected challenges, but beneath the typical "guy" facade, he's a caring young man.

I'm only an "adopted" aunt -- but a privilege nonetheless.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sunday Stills: Halloween

Okay, so I'm a day early...but tonight is All Hallows Eve when the mists between this world and the next grow thin and creatures from the other side cross through into our world.

This is the spooky, scary, creepy Halloween photo (altered via Kodak EasyShare):

This is my favorite -- a simple statement of the season:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


So apparently I need to carry my camera during all dry-weather dog walks. I missed a great shot the other day. Grrrr!

We were on the home stretch following our daily tour through the subdivisions last week and came around the corner to find a great blue heron (GBH) perched on top of a neighbor's fence.


The fence is about 4-feet tall and separates two back yards. Two summers ago one neighbor put considerable effort into landscaping their backyard complete with a fountain and small pond. The GBH was standing on the fence overlooking the pond. He looked like he was smacking his lips (quite a trick, since herons don't have lips). So if the pond was stocked with fish, it wasn't any more.

GBH's are large birds! Pretty spectacular to stand within 10-12 feet of one. I stopped to watch him (he couldn't see the dog and Indy had no idea the bird was there). The GBH wasn't afraid of me in the least. I couldn't stand there forever, so Indy and I continued home. But it was quite the experience.

Years ago when Lacey and I were living in my last apartment, we startled a GBH out of the koi pond during our pre-work stroll through the complex. That was pretty exciting. GBH's have quite the wing span, so the bird wasn't the only one startled. To watch something that size take to the air right in front of you is really something!

So...I missed another photo op. Doubly disgusting because there won't be many dry days for whipping out the camera in the months ahead.