Monday, May 30, 2011

My Baby Turns Twenty Today! :-(

It was twenty years ago today. . . 
While visiting my friend in VA, I witnessed the birth of Oldenburg Stallion, San Diego's first foal on Memorial Day 1991. It was an incredible experience! The filly was born in the indoor arena and I got her first steps on video. She was so beautiful! I was in love and definitely in horse-heaven. Little did I know at the time that she would be my Santa Margarita. Since I have no human children, she's the closest I'll ever get to having a baby of my own. It was apparent right from the start that the foal had a very high opinion of herself and a strong willed "mind of her own". After an hour of getting her land legs, she wasn't finished checking out the indoor arena, the footing, cavaletti, ground poles or cats and dog. She had to be pushed by three of us to follow her screaming mother back to the stall. She resisted by rearing and bucking. . . at less than an hour old.

She loved to be brushed, hand fed and fussed over.
Here's a picture of me and Santa Margarita when she was about two months old. My friend used this photo in her stallion advertising campaign. She said people often commented about the cute photo of the foal and the "little girl". : -)
(Shhh, A little secret - I was 37 at the time.)

She was a firey filly and very tall and strong.
Here we are when she was four months old. Look how fast she was growing! What a handful. I felt sorry for her mom. I'm putting a slideshow together to commemorate this day and the past twenty years with my big girl. I'll post it here soon.

And here we are today.
Still Together After All These Years!

Happy 20th Birthday Today To My Lovely Rita!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

On Memorial Day, Let Us All Remember

"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!" ~ Maya Angelou

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'll Soon Be Drawing Everyday!

Only ten days until my "Sketching Everyday" project starts up again! This will be my sixth year posting a drawing every single day from June through August. A little nervous and excited, like a Thoroughbred in the starting gate, I'm chomping at the bit in anticipation. If any of you artists out there are serious about improving your drawing skills, I hope you'll take me up on my weekly sketching challenge.

"Realize that a drawing is not a copy. It is a construction in very different materials. A drawing is an invention." ~ Robert Henri

"Every good painting must be based on a good drawing. Drawing is like the bones to the human body." ~ Diana Kan

"You can eliminate color and still have a painting that works, but you must have drawing, value and design." ~ Matt Smith

My last sketch of the summer ~ August 31, 2008.
Now license this image through iStock.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Princess And The Ten Toms

Princess, my studio cat, was restless and very vocal this morning. I couldn't figure out what it was she could want.

With me being laid up with a strained back over the last week and a half and rain off and on the past couple of days, she hasn't gotten to go on her usual frequent "walk-about" the property. So I got my jacket on  and we headed out. Once out, she acted hesitant, like it wasn't what she wanted after all. Sometimes, like all of us I guess, she doesn't know what she wants.

I noticed a group of male turkeys were out in the field. We have a flock of 25-30 off and on around here. The young bachelors are sticking together now as the hens are off nesting.

Princess followed me out and the turkeys quickly took note of her.
It didn't take long before the dominant males were over to check her out.

She was really enjoying all the attention.

She kept watching me, perhaps in case she needed protection. Or was she looking for approval?  Showing me how brave she is, here deliberately posing for this group shot.

Her body language was that of superiority, confidence and being in control.

The encounter really perked her up.  I watched as she played mind games with them. Varying her posture and eye contact, she was checking out what kind of a response she'd get.

After ten to fifteen minutes of turkeys, she got restless and bored. By diverting her (intense) gaze and shifting her posture, the ten toms started to move on.

The leaders came back a few times to make sure it was over, and it was. By this time, something else really had gotten her attention. She was done with them.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Are Raccoons Rabid If Out In Daylight?

Snowflake has been around The Sandarosa for about eight years now. She's been visiting our bird feeders earlier and earlier in the day lately.  I'm sure she has a nest of hungry babies to feed. Mother raccoons and foxes regurgitate food for their offfspring, so they get fairly brazen and are commonly out during daylight hours at this time of the year. As the nest gets tighter, the youngsters get more demanding. Any raccoon or fox you see in the daytime is NOT rabid. If the animal is acting fairly normal, there is most likely nothing to worry about. If you see an animal approaching people in an aggressive way, acting drunk or savage,  it's time to call the authorities. 

Here's a fuzzy photo of the old momma girl through the kitchen window with my trusty pocket camera. We are leaving a bowl of bird seed on the ground, or she climbs up the pole and reeks havic with all the bird feeders.

I also saw the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks' mate today. Very plain, but I think she's beautiful in her own way, don't you?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hungry Hummingbirds

Today here's a quick tip for all you hummingbird caretakers out there.

We love white Ocean Spray Cranberry juice. It is delicious and comes in just the right size jug to make and store nectar in. If you are lucky, you may be able to enlist a helper or two. Here Inspector Tommy keeps a watchful eye and makes sure that I am doing things correctly.

Wash the container thoroughly after you finish the juice and take the label off. (So you don't go in there and pour yourself a huge glass of sugar water, thinking it's juice.)

Each jug holds exactly 7 1/2 cups of liquid. So, at a four parts water to one part sugar, just add 1 1/2 cups of sugar to the bottle (I use a 1/2 c. scoop and a funnel). Get your tap water as hot as you can and fill the jug almost to the top and shake, shake shake.  No heating necessary!! Honest! (Let it cool before filling feeders.)

The nectar will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge. Because the Ocean Spray bottles are square, they fit nicely.

The hummingbirds love cold nectar in the hot weather and mixing it up ahead of time also makes your job much easier. Right now I've only got one bottle made up, but later in the season, as the activity picks up, I will make gallons at a time. Here's what my refrigerator looked like last summer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Secretariat, A Horse With Heart

Last night I watched the 2010 biographical movie, Secretariat. The action packed true story told of the events and life of "Big Red" leading up to and including his remarkable 31 length win at the Belmont Stakes, making him the 1973 Triple Crown winner. After watching the film, I  went online to research the facts of Secretariat's story on Wikipedia and found that the truth had been told.  In the Kentucky Derby, his track record still stands. Thirty seven years later, "Red" still holds the world record for his speed at Belmont, 1½ miles on dirt in 2:24 flat. Secretariat sired over 600 foals in his lifetime, so his legacy lives on in the lineage of thousands of horses today. In 1989, Secretariat was put down at the young age of 19 for laminitis. He was mourned by millions. When a necropsy was performed, it was found that Secretariat's heart was huge! It was about 22 lbs. and built like a perfect machine. It was almost two and a half times the size of an average horse of his proportion. This occasionally occurs in Thoroughbreds and has been linked to a genetic condition passed down by the dam calked the X-factor. So when people say Secretariat was a "horse with heart", they couldn't be more correct. Not only was he physically superior, but he also had the mind and the rare elusive spirit of a true champion.

This photo is in the public domain and is from Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Turning Point in World Peace

 I just received this letter from Owen Waters, international spiritual healer, prophet and  author. 

A Turning Point in World Peace.

"Now is the time when you can make a very great difference in world events. World peace will either gain ground or lose ground at this point in history. The icon of world terrorism is dead: Reactions to this by terrorists would, if they were to succeed, cause more fear, more military responses, and set world peace back further than before.

You can send your healing energy out into the world to promote world peace. The spiritual hierarchy states that the energy sent out by all physical cooperators at this time will be enhanced by a factor of 3,000 times. THAT makes you a powerful agent for world peace!"

For the full article, see the Current World Crises section at:

You can find out more about Owen, his work and writings here.

Sending out feelings of love is the key. It all boils down to the POWER OF LOVE!