Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Stills: Landscapes and Power Lines

So...I didn't get anywhere to take landscape shots. Had to settle for the view westward from one of Indy's favorite walks close to home. Plus an intimate portrait of one of the towers. And a view of Mt. Hood (joke pic, see the teeny tiny white tip of the mountain?).

Friday, May 29, 2009

Oregon Horse Country

The Wilsonville Spokesman published a story in the current issue regarding the Chamber of Commerce's exploration of equine tourism in the area. It's very encouraging to see others acknowledge the economic contributions made by equestrian activities. The article also addresses the need to consider equine facilities in land use planning.

Access the article at Wilsonville Lifestyles. It won't be on the website for long.

Whoo Hoo!

Check out the forecast!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hmmm, Good Question

Behind the Bit was tagged with a list of questions that looked intriguing, so I'll give them a try myself.

What are your current obsessions?
My current novel in progress, The Legacy of Pennleah, a young adult fantasy.

Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Jeans, of course.

What's for dinner?
Lean Cuisine.

Last thing you bought?
A graduation gift for someone who couldn't possibly be old enough to graduate from high school.  ;-)
Before that...books (of course).

What are you listening to?
The fan. Usually it's NPR via KOPB. 

If you were a god/goddess, who would you be?
Epona, protector of horses.

Favorite holiday spots?
Since I haven't been on an airplane since 1984, I obviously don't "holiday" much. But I'd love to return to England and Down Under.

Reading right now?
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman.

Who or what makes you laugh until you're weak?
Usually Indy, my dog. Such a Goober Boy!

Who's your hero/heroine?
Aside from my mother and her mother? Captain Sully. Grace under pressure. Experience counts!

What's the thing that always makes you smile?
Thinking about loved ones.

Favorite Film?
Pride and Prejudice - the Colin Firth version, of course!

Care to share some wisdom?
It will all work out. Maybe not in the way you think it will or should. But things will eventually sort themselves out.

If you were a tree, which would it be and why?
A Douglas fir, my state tree. Since I'm vertically challenged, it would be nice to see over everyone else for a change.

Name fictitious characters who made a lasting impression on you.
Elizabeth Bennett, Melanie Hamilton-Wilkes.

Four words to describe yourself.
Still waters run deep.

Those are today's answers. Who know what tomorrow's answers would be.

So...I tag Shared Glory Photoblog with the above questions. Heck, she's out of school now and has time for a little nonsense!  :-)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

In loving memory of Ed Potter
41st Infantry Division Bands
162nd Infantry Regiment.

The Sunset patch of the 41st Infantry Division, also known as the Sunset Division. Sunset Highway (Hwy 26) to the Oregon coast is dedicated to the memory of the division, comprised largely of men from the Pacific Northwest.

The 41st Infantry Division, the Fighting Jungleers, arrive in Australia and stand for review. Note the WWI uniforms. They were one of the first divisions sent overseas following Pearl Harbor and one of the last to return home after the occupation of Japan.

Assault on Biak Island. The 41st played a key role in Pacific Theater of War. Contrary to John Wayne movies, the Marines didn't do it all alone. Tokyo Rose had some choice words for the 41st Infantry as it battled through New Guinea and the Philippines Islands.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Stills: Yellow

I already had this one in my photo file. It was taken during the winter doldrums and I thought the spot of yellow jumped out from the dreary winter landscape.

I took the following photos specifically for the latest "assignment." Once again using my little Kodak since I was at the barn. I guess what I'm trying to do is look at things from different angles. Such as:

I call this one Harley's Hootin n Hollerin Halter:

This one is my favorite of the recent "Yellow" photos. I pulled out of the barn the other day and thought, Hmmm. What if.... And this is the product.

Obviously, this one has to be titled The Road Not Taken, with a nod to R. Frost.  :-)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Busy Barn Day

I had the barn to myself today, which was a surprise because Fridays have been fairly active of late. So I was able to implement my plan of action. It was warm enough for Phantom's first bath of the season!

Rode for half an hour, primarily sitting trot, until Phantom came round and bendy. I've been doing a pattern where I ride out of the corner to X and back to the corner to ride the short ends of the arena at the rail. I try to work toward a soft bend at each end of the arena, straighten on the way to X, change the bend at X, straighten on the way to the corner and return to the correct bend at the next short end. Since I'm asking for a slight bend I'm less prone to "shout" my cues. I try to think of just shifting from one side of the spine to the other. I continue to work on implementing Trainer Tracey's suggestions to sit back more and look between Phantom's ears.

Anyway, ended the ride with leg yields and shoulders-in to Handel on All Classical FM. Nothing like a little Baroque tune to put one in the right frame of mind.

So then it was off to the wash rack where I really "sudsed up" Phantom's mane and tail. Of course, while rinsing his mane half the water goes down my arm and I end up taking a shower, too. When finished with wash and rinse I sprayed him with fly repellant and sent Phantom out to free graze and dry out in the sun.

While Phantom was air drying I gave my saddle and bridle a quickie cleaning with the handy little Lexol sheets. I know it's cheating and it's not a thorough job, but otherwise I wouldn't do it at all. With that chore done, I grabbed my little Kodak and tried to take a few pictures.

Man, his mane turned out bright white. Too bad he won't be this sparkly when next I see him.

I brought Phantom into the little barn and banded his mane into a continental braid. Much easier with clean hair! Then I placed his new "clearance" fly sheet on him. Yesterday my income-tax-refund order from Dover Saddlery arrived. So I tried on the one-piece combo turnout sheet for size. I'll pack it away for next fall. Then I tried on the combo one-piece fly sheet that I'll likely use later in the summer. It seemed to fit okay for length, but the belly strap must be sized for a pregnant mare (and I do mean pregnant). So I brought it home for possible alterations. Between Gallops and the Mill End Store, I think I can accumulate the materials I'll need for the job.

New Kitty:

About the time we lost Romeo, Molly reported her family was being visited by a stray cat -- likely dumped in the area by someone.  :-(

Juliet has found a new home at the barn. She's still on trial, hiding in the feed room. Although, she did venture out to meow at me and sort-of-almost accept a pet. And Juliet was reported to be seen stalking "game."

She's very thin and it makes us all so angry to think she may have been dropped off to fend for herself. She will be wormed, and spayed as soon as possible.

Juliet is very sweet and soaking up the attention of the boarders who come to say hello and welcome her to the barn.

Monday, May 18, 2009

In Memory


Much loved and missed by the Barn Bunch at CEC

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Stills - The Eyes Have It

Well, I already had some photos of eyes in my collection. The following are my favorites.

The top is Phantom standing patiently in the cross ties:

This is Imprint, taken with black & white film and also saved on a CD at the time the film was developed. Impy was stall bound at the time and a captive subject:

The following photos I took specific for today's post:

Indy at the barn, taken with my little Kodak EasyShare C360, and edited with the Kodak software.

And Indy again, taken the same day, same camera.

In order to get the photos of Indy I had to tie him to the front of the stall so he wouldn't come up to me and sniff the camera (all nose, no eyes). I backed up toward the doorway of the little barn and kneeled down to his level -- he came as close as the leash allowed. I think the lighting turned out pretty good. It's actually a great location for barn photos on a sunny day. Provides enough light on the subject without the glare of the sun.

Anyway...the souls of "fur people" revealed through their eyes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


It's wet out there, folks. This is the kind of cold front you want after you've spent the weekend planting summer annuals and want them well watered in.

It's the kind of weather that separates the "real folk" from the dilettantes. The real horse folk who ride no matter how loudly the rain is pounding the metal roof of the arena. The real dog people who suit up in Gortex to walk their canine companion. The real cyclists (bi and motor) that are skirting the lakes of accumulated water in the streets.

It's the kind of weather with which Oregonians-by-birth love to greet out-of-state arrivals. "Why yes, it's always like this. Is that a problem?"

It's the kind of weather we put up with because we know it makes for a phenomenal summer and fall!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Color Schemes

Have you noticed a color scheme to your life? Intended or inadvertent?

My friend Karen teased me about my Gray Period when Phantom joined my menagerie. My hair was showing the first signs of gray, Lacey (my first Sheltie) was blue merle, and Phantom was steel gray at age three.

Before Lacey and Phantom entered my life, it had been just me and my chestnut mare, Kiyara. My hair is (was?!) brown, but it's always had a red tinge that became even more red with exposure to the summer sun.

So my personal color scheme seems to have evolved from red to gray.

The color scheme idea came to me again when Boarder Molly brought her dog Riley to the barn. Riley is a friendly cavalier King Charles spaniel who thinks laps were invented just for him.  :-) His coloring is referred to as "Blenheim" -- chestnut spots on white. Guess what color Molly's horse Harley is? 

Yep...chestnut and white.

Then there's Genevieve, whose border collie is black and white. Her horse Zorro?

Um, yeah -- the black horse on the right with the white markings. (That's my gray Goober Boy on the left.)

Now I have Indy, my second Sheltie, who happened to be blue merle. I really would have preferred a Sheltie who didn't resemble Lacey, but finding Indy was serendipitous so I didn't question his color.

Besides...I'm obviously in my Gray Period.

The interior decorators on HGTV say you should look in your closet for color schemes when it comes to decorating your home.

Maybe they should add the barn and kennel, too.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Stills

Last Sunday's "assignment" from Sunday Stills was a black and white photo. So I decided Phantom's braided mane would make a good study. I'm still using my little Kodak digital camera at the barn, since I feel more comfortable hauling it around in my backpack and using it around the horses. I cropped the image and altered it from color to B&W, then added the artsy finish.

If it looks amateurish, there's a reason. I am an amateur.  :-)

The Legacy of Pennleah:

Making progress. Chapter Two completed but not sent off to my First Reader -- she's in the throes of term papers and finals.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Close Call

The following item was mentioned briefly during last night's TV news. A more detailed article appeared in this morning's newspaper. I found this article on the Internet.

First: I'm glad the woman was found in time and received medical treatment. Second: It's a reminder for all of us just how quickly things can go wrong when dealing with horses, as if we didn't already know. Third: Media coverage of horse-related stories is so LAME!


Sketchy 9-1-1 call leads to rescue in Wilsonville

by Rick Bella, the Oregonian
Wednesday May 06, 2009, 4:18 PM

WILSONVILLE -- Chalk this one up to resourcefulness, hard work and good luck. Without all of them, it's hard to know what might have happened to Amy Erickson after she was trampled by a frightened horse.

About 9 a.m. Wednesday, emergency dispatchers in Woodburn heard a broken cry for help. The 9-1-1 call, fading in and out, seemed to be about a woman in distress, possibly on Southwest Ladd Hill Road, which cuts through the horse country west of Wilsonville and south of Sherwood.

Woodburn dispatchers notified Clackamas County's 9-1-1 center, where dispatchers tried to piece together the fragmented clues.

They thought the caller might have been named Amy.

And they thought she could have been at a place called something like "Streamer Farm."

So dispatchers sent Sheriff's Deputy John Zbinden to cruise the area while they pored over databases of names, addresses and businesses.

"I was driving around, looking for a sign out on the road, like so many of these places have," Zbinden said. "That's when the dispatchers called to say they had figured out where I should go. And I just happened to be right there."

Zbinden used the callbox at the gate of Streimer's Stable & Equestrian Center -- which has no sign -- to call Michael Streimer, who buzzed him in. When Zbinden asked if a woman named Amy was there, Streimer told him she lived in the basement. When Zbinden didn't find her there, he headed out toward the barn.

That's where he found Amy Erickson, 43, lying in a pool of blood and vomit.

Erickson told Zbinden that a horse's hoof had become stuck in the track for a stable door. When she freed him, he spooked and kicked her in the head and trampled her.

Bloodied and dazed, Erickson crawled outside and used a cell phone to call 9-1-1.

By this time, the horse had calmed down.

"I was impressed with his size," Zbinden said. "This was not a pony. He was a big horse with big feet."

An emergency medical crew from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue then arrived to evaluate Erickson and administer first aid. She was air-lifted by helicopter ambulance to Emanuel Hospital & Health Center in Portland, where she was listed in serious condition, undergoing treatment for blows to the head, chest and abdomen.

"If the dispatchers didn't have the savvy and wherewithal, we might not have located her," said Detective Jim Strovink, Clackamas County sheriff's spokesman. "Who knows what would have happened to her?"

-- Rick Bella:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Legacy of Pennleah

I completed the "Legacy Map" as I'm calling it. The map contains the "crosshair" moments, plot points, pinch points, the inciting incident, mid-point context shift, and resolution. Whew! It also lists potential scenes, or at least the actions and events I think will take me and the reader to the climactic scene.

I believe I have a climactic scene that will make the audience cheer aloud. Provided, of course, that I'm successful in building up to it.

The protagonist is a 15-year-old girl, but that doesn't mean there won't be action scenes. A couple of knuckle-biters, I hope.

I've created a Shortcut to the Scene template that combines Laura Whitcomb's and Victoria Lynn Schmidt's work sheets. I'm thinking I'll handwrite my scene brainstorming efforts, and based on what I come up with, compose the actual scene on the computer. See if the combination of hand scribing and typing on the keyboard will do the creative trick.

My goal is to feed draft chapters to Emily as completed. I'm hoping the commitment will keep me on track.

Anyway...I think I'm getting closer to having all the elements needed for an enjoyable and marketable story.

As they a__ in chair and WRITE.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Blanket-Free Day

Turnout sheets weren't needed today. Another tease for the lovely spring and summer days ahead. Of course the weekend will be's the Willamette Valley, after all. But for one day the horses got to roll and graze without their turnouts.

This is the type of scene that makes the barn a sanctuary for so many of us. A quiet, lazy day. The geldings grazing, or dozing, or scratching each other's itches.

More of the same. Phantom is "free grazing" while I put away tack, sweep the aisle, and record our day's ride in my journal. Once my cleanup chores are completed, Phantom will return to his turnout paddock.

I think most of us took a turn outside after schooling in the arena. "Walkabouts" for horse and rider to enjoy the warm, dry weather in anticipation of future trail rides.


Slowing down the's a good thing.