Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday...errr Monday stills: things with wings

Ok so I had a phenomenal weekend. I spent it with two of my best bud's, Lisa and Michelle. My old friend from Amherst high school, Thomas showed up too!
We wandered up town and danced until they kicked us out in the wee mornings. What a great night. Not often I get to sneak away and be a "city girl" I sure do love coming back to my little hick town.
Yesterday we went swimming. It was kind of windy out but the pool was 88 degrees! wow talk about warm. I got cold getting out of the pool. Then we had a bonfire and made hobo pies (quick, what is a hobo pie!? Who can answer that one?)

So I just got to taking my Sunday stills pics today. I thought about it. I really did not have time to stalk birds. I thought about taking a picture of Indigo and doing this to it:



harharharharhar. Baaadd photoshop, bad.
She is my angel though. Sweet, evil, neigh trying to dump me back the laneway and run home today after I let you have a corn stalk to eat on our ride. Bad neigh!

But as I thought about birds and how hard they are to photograph and how I get attacked every time I go to one of the local wineries and see the Canadian geese. All I hear is this hissing noise and WHAMMO! goose pinch. Ouch.

So I got these suckers.
Everyone has their own name for them. June bugs, fish flies, May flies. My mom and dad have always called them june bugs. I guess actual June bugs are those beetle things around here. All I know is when they die, and they die by the MILLIONS they smell like rotting fish! Gross! They are majorly attracted to light so all the street lights are turned off at night. They can be dangerous because they die under the street lights. If you hit a patch of them with your car they can be more dangerous than a patch of black ice!
They live for a whole of like 24 hours and their sole purpose in life is making babies and being bird food. The birds love them and so do the bats and frogs and fish.
They lay eggs on the surface of the water which sink down and burrow in the mud. They stay in a larvae stage for up to two years under there before hatching and flying around. The bloody things.
See they don't bite. They just fly at any moving object and stick to it. Imagine the frustration of a horse when you ride past a bush or tree and a few hundred of these things fly at them, land on them and don't fly away when they twitch their muscles or swat them with their tails. They are gross if you are riding. You come back with an annoyed horse and these buggers smushed into the seat of your pants. Grrrrr.
I remember my dad walking through this tall grass area when I was young. All I hear is my mom scream and my dad coming out, hanging his arms to the side looking like swamp thing, every single inch covered in fish flies and a big swarm of them hovering above your head. Good thing they don't bite.

They do molt a time or two or three when they are here. They leave these skelletons behind clinging to your window.

They also come in tan, or brown. I find the tan ones are more skittish. Weird. Here is the wikipedia page on them. Of course you can't believe everything wiki says because people like you and me write those articles.
Just be lucky you don't have them. The season is just starting. They will cover our house in a week. Gross.


I grab them by their wings. Oh looks like this little fellow isn't happy. His little legs are flailing.

They are great fun for kids to collect. See who gets the most fish flies. So here is it for me being busy. Hopefully there will be some wildflowers next week on time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

When all goes wrong

With one nicker my horse makes it all right



"Why hello thar. You have cookies for me, right?"

I've been having a terrible week. Between crap happening at work and stuff not going as planned and people getting Cancer I am just about at wits end.

I just found out earlier this week my uncle Jack has bladder cancer. I guess they suspect it was from him using sweetener in his coffee and drinking diet pop. In the tests they did with rats a great number of them developed the cancer in the bladder as he did. He went in for surgery but it does not look good. When is cancer good? So it's chemo and if that does not work in short order his whole bladder has to go.
My uncle is a funny guy. Heck hes the only uncle I got left after my uncle Larry died a few years ago of a blood clot due to medicine for his diabetes. Uncle Jack can fix things...or blow things up.
Let's just say some of the stuff he makes up looks like an extra from the red green show. He has a little experiment going in his basement making bio diesel and is running his one van off it. I guess the way to accurately describe my uncle would be if you asked him the time, he would tell you how to build a watch. lol! Thats my family.

Anyway. When I finally wandered outside to see my horses I was feeling like crap. I was hungry, angry, lonely and tired. First thing I hear is Indigo whinny loud as she always does, just for me. No one else. I hear her then I see her trotting up to me with her nostrils all a flutter with happy nickers. They work magic I tell you because when I went back to the house I felt 100% better. I am going to the movies tonight and then going dancing. This morning that wouldn't have happened.

I think for me a horse will always do to cheer me up. Unless of course they are having a bad mare day... or gelding day that I had to deal with yesterday. I could have strangled the son of a b****! I was doing a drive for the ice cream parlor and Sebastian was being the biggest pain in the butt. He does this thing sometimes where he doesn't want to stop at stop signs and when he finally does get going it's like a half rear half leap forward which jaarrs and makes the whole carriage hop. Put customers in the back seat of the surry and you have a problem.
He stood for an hour and a half at the ice cream parlor and was great. I was so impressed but as soon as I asked him to work he didn't want to walk. So on our way home I went right past our road, into the village and down the laneway, trotting the whole time. Stupid tough sucker. He could have trotted to town and back two more times!
So for the next week hes getting driven morning and night, every day around the block once (about 4 miles total) and then we will see his attitude towards walking a bit. Them Morgans I tell you, sometimes they have more stamina and attitude than I want!

What do you all do when you are upset? Hug a horse? Consult in a friend? Blog?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday stills: tricolour

I was lacking time this week as some of you know. I got this shot yesterday at a wedding we were doing. This guy had a cool property with some wild turkeys that weren't so wild. Click for full view. I am surprised at myself for getting this shot as clear as I did.
Wadda ya know, red white and blue, only Canadian style.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shake a hoof!

A new trick I had to teach her for university. I hope I get a good mark on my paper. Here is a rough outline of some of the first paragraphs. Stupid microsoft word and blogger are not compatible together. What should have taken me 5 minutes is taking me 20! Curse you Bill gates *shakesfist*

Classical conditioning is a form of associative learning. The learning takes place when a neutral stimulus is paired with a stimulus of significance to the subject.

Classical conditioning was first defined by Ivan Petrovich Pavlov during research on the digestive system of dogs. He surgically implanted a tube to collect saliva from the dogs mouthes. When Pavlov’s technician approached the dog kennels to feed them a bell was sounded. The dogs had associated the sound of the bell with being fed and although food had not yet been delivered, they salivated.

Pavlov discovered that if a neutral stimulus (the bell) was associated with an unconditioned stimulus (meat powder in the dogs mouth) the animal would react to the neutral stimulus, even in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus if conditioned to respond.

Burrhus Frederic Skinner was doing research on pigeon behavior in world war II. Pigeons would receive food for random behaviors. Some had to turn a few times clockwise before food would be offered, others had to fling their heads forward or peck at one corner of their enclosure before food would be delivered. The pigeons began to offer the behaviors that would get them food without fail. This is known as operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning allows an animal to control the events around it. In operant conditioning a reward becomes associated with a response. When in an animal is put into a learning situation such as hitting a lever to deliver food, does the task required then taken away from the situation it is called a discrete trial situation. When an animal is allowed to be free to do whatever he wants and discovers for example that he can escape his lonely paddock by un-latching the gate and freeing himself is called a free operant situation.

Clicker training has been used for years with cats, dogs, dolphins and even birds but only recently has it gained popularity with the equine population. The concept of clicker training is to make the animal associate a noise (a click) with a primary enforcer (usually food) immediately after the noise. When the animal is conditioned to respond to the clicker and does a maneuver correctly he is rewarded by a click. That click says to the animal “yes that is right, now have some food” at the second the correct response is offered followed shortly by a tasty food reward.

To condition the animal to the sound of the clicker first you would “charge” the clicker. This is done by clicking and giving a reward, clicking and giving a reward and so on without asking for anything of the animal but to associate the sound with a reward.
Once the clicker has been charged the handler can begin asking the animal for a specific behavior.

Would anyone want to learn how to teach their horses tricks or just things with a clicker? It's a researched and now proven fact that animals learn faster and are more willing to offer a behaviour with a positive, unconditioned reinforcer, such as food rather than traditional training. Of course clicker training isn't just for tricks! I taught Indigo to accept the big skkkeeerrryyyy body clippers with operant conditioning. Every time she touched the scary clippers with her nose she got a treat. Once they were on I asked her for the same, if she was scared to touch them when they were on I would turn them on until she began to get uncomfortable, turn them off, make her touch them then click and treat her. Now she could care less about the horrifying clippers. What a fun way to learn. Gee I think my mom trained me with operant conditioning "Do the dishes or supper doesn't get made!"
Yes mum.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oh baby!

We have been calling her mini wee.
I loved Lisa'a suggestion of biscotti, Italian biscuit or cookie. It sounds so cute. Everyone agrees. I'll tell my boss when I see her next.My boss husband says to me today "I'm gonna call her pita" I said "why pita?" he smirks and says "It stands for PAIN IN THE ASS" I laughed. Should have named her mother that because she truely is a pita.
Her mom is still mean to her but she hasn't rejected her like we first thought. She just squeals and kicks and strikes at her baby for no reason it seems. Shes even kicked her over a couple of times but she was unhurt. Oh wee your not a very good mama. I guess shes still young though, only four.

We went to put them outside yesterday. The baby hadn't been out of the stall yet. She was a little confused so I had to go in there and shoo her out. Didn't work so I scooped my hands under her butt and shoved her out. Once in the isle she was even more confused. Her mama was upset that her baby was being left behind so I was trying to get her to walk as fast as her little foal legs would let her. She just couldn't keep up so with two arms I gently picked her up under her rump and on her chest and walked out there with her. She was totally fine with it, until her mama started to holler at the pen and then she started to try and gallop mid air in my arms. Her little legs were a flailing and I was laughing so hard.

Today she did better. I walked her with one hand in front and the other pushing her rump. She hasn't quite got the idea to follow her mom yet. Shes so cute zooming around. She barely lies down or drinks. I stood around for twenty minutes and she didn't nurse once but she drank from her moms bucket outside.

I hope she doesn't have the same mouth as her mama. She has what is called. Sow mouth is an under bite, opposite of parrot mouth. It's more apparent than parrot mouth and certainly hard. Wee has lost many teeth because her jaw is so misaligned. However if the baby does have it I know it can be fixed once her teeth erupt. You need to file the molars in the back different. The top teeth need to be long in the front and filed short in the back and the bottom need to be short in the front and long in the back so it makes her jaw slide back into place before her bones/joints become more solid before 6-9 months.
Fortunately this condition is not hereditary/genetically passed down. It unfortunately is nutritional. I asked my professor and he assured me it was nutritionally caused.

Theres always time for play!
Then back to mama for some comfort.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What a day

Prepare for along winded post of the last few days.

I get a phone call at who knows what time from the lady who owns the one farm I work at. Her pony, wee biscuit had her foal. A little dark bay filly. I needed to help her husband give it some shots and make sure it was ok.

Cute little thing barely makes it up to my knee. I see horse foals so often but pony foals are tiny.

I knew something wasn't right. Every time the foal went to nurse wee would squeal at it, or if she smelt it she would squeal and then strike at it. She was protective however. When we went to give baby it's shots and it squealed a little, wee got real upset but wasn't protective or anything too terrible.

I twitched her and the filly went over right away to nurse but couldn't quite figure things out. Maybe she has mastitis? I wonder if it had anything at all from the time it was born? The poor baby looked exhausted.

I dunno I had a feeling she was going to be funny about her baby. It's her first. Shes just a weird pony. She squeals at every other horse or pony even when she has been turned out with them for months. She does the same with the foal. I just had this gut feeling.

Anyway it wasn't long before I had to leave. The foal wasn't alert or bouncing around like it should have been. It also didn't lie down once in the two hours I was there. Sooo strange. I told the farm owners husband that he needed to call a vet, like don't wait for his wife unless he wanted her to come home to a foal on deaths doorstep.

Anyone got any cute pony name suggestions? Her moms name is wee biscuit. Some name suggestions were McNickers, McMuffin, swishy, miniwee, toasty, timbit...

Enough of the sad news it was time to go on to other barns before I had to run home and bale hay. I tell ya baling hay is hard work but you have a certain feel of accomplishment when you are done. Not to mention hay in places you didn't think getting hay was possible!

Some other things that happened yesterday.

Sophie. If any of you have read back to my very first post you would see the filly I had been working on last year. She got into a bad accident and regressed about a thousand steps back in her training. She became spooky and almost dangerous to work. Being just three I decided to put some foundation rides on her (I did walk trot, woah, moving away from leg cues and backing. Not to mention extensive ground work. Shes a gem to work with on the longe) so it would be easy for me to say "Ok enough of that spooking lets get to work" this year. She had matured significantly. I am glad I gave her a year. Shes four now and can carry me far easilier. She did great yesterday with the riding although she blew up at a cat walking on the other side of the bush. After she clearly seen the cat she could have cared less.

Sophie hasn't really been away from her family. She is fine in the barn and has no problem leaving them or being tied in the barn. The second you leave her totally alone in the round pen you get this:

Trotting around and bucking and farting and rearing like a bloody maniac! Boy am I glad she does not pull any of this wile I am driving her or on her back or I would be toast for sure! Man can that Morgan buck! I can see it "next act, human lawn dart"

As soon as I came back she was fine. I climbed up on the rail of the round pen and sat there. She wasn't too sure about me being way up there but curiosity got the best of her and within 30 seconds she was sniffing my shoes and knees and going "watcha doin up thar?" She loves her back scratched so I was doin some back scritchin, she enjoyed it. Then I went off to drive Indigo.

I left miss Sophie in the round pen. She galloped around again wile we drove past her and went down the lane.

Indigo was a real good girl. I think the working her 4-6 days a week is starting to make her act her age...shouldn't speak too soon.

Oops looks like this day just got darker. My sister just called who just had surgery on her bowels a few days ago. Shes in the hospital with complications. I hope she is going to be alright. My sister usually isn't grim about things and she didn't sound good. Everyone say a good word for her. Gotta run.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday stills: silo's and water towers

I would have had this up in the morning but I didn't take the pictures until this afternoon. See I have been busy, busy, busy, I don't think I could stress the word busy any more.

So here it is, the silo's.

They tower over the farm. I love this picture. The silos look like they are sooooo tall. They really are. I used to climb all the way to the top of the right one, which is significantly taller than the other.

Here's the inside view of the smaller one. They haven't had anything in them for about 5 years now. The smaller had haylage and the taller one always had corn silage. Now they are pigeon roosts.

The bigger one with one of our resident flying rats in it (FYI: flying rats are pigeons, not actual flying rats lol!). He is just off the right of the chute there where the light is coming from. Boy he looks tiny. Hes not, hes fat and well fed. Who the hell keeps feeding these things!?

Of course one with the horses in front of it. You can see Indigo on the other side of the fence eating grass. Shes the only one I can trust to do that and not take off the second the lead rope drops. She just hangs out mowing down on the greenage.

The old wooden Silo foundation with Sheba and Indigo modeling it.
Thats all for today folks. Stay tuned all you horsey people, theres a pretty cool contest coming up with some awesome prizes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


(like I've said before I can't be wordless. I think my new camera is magic. Click on the image for gigantic pretty full view)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Horses/100th post!!

This is my 100th post! Just short a few days of my 1 year blogiversary. I admit I don't write here as often as I should because my creative ideas are going to things that make me money, like magazine articles. It's ok when I write articles that are relevant and legal to place here I will.

Just a few pictures.

First of all theres Indigo itching. What a pretty girl even though it's a terrible picture lol!

Then we move on to the two ponies.

Keebler on the right and Spanky on the left.

Pony girl will like this one.
Isn't he the cutest thing you have ever seen?? Sorry Keeb, you are my handsome boy but Mr.Spanks is sooooooo cute! He has the cutest neigh and little hooves and hes just cute.

A grey appaloosa mini. Hes more the size of a shetland. I guess there are different sections to the mini registry because a lady I show with has ones that are tiny. I would just love to scoop him up and put a cart on him and drive him around. He waddles back and forth when he trots. It's darling.

Oh I just want to take that widdle muzzle and those widdle spots home with me. So friggn cute!

Hes got four white socks and a big white blanket from his withers to his rump. Adorable.

Keebler and Him are best friends. As you can see by the halter he likes to drag his little friend around by the face. The first thing they do when they are reunited is groom eachothers sides. it's so cute!

Thats all I got today I gotta bring Savanah to her play date with Bo.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nature

Looks pretty through the lens of a camera.

Would you believe this itty bitty butterfly was as small as my pinky finger nail. Click for full view and impact.


Horse pictures to come I promise!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Camera

So much fun. So far I have lots of pictures of one of the local wineries, a lot of Canadian geese (I almost got mauled by a few too) a muskrat, some of my horses and a bellydancing thing going on of my friends.

Of course I did some around home. My mother is a good a gardener as she is a cook.


Click on image for full view please! Or you can see it here on my deviant art

Forget me not's. They symbolize many things for her like her best friend and farrier Souix who died a couple years ago.
Poppys always bloom in the back garden. They try and take over.

Spring sure is pretty, so is having a brand new camera =D

Fun day!

I had a very eventful day.

I got up at 7 am, fed the horses and ran to work. Fed and cleaned the horses there, turned them out and then ran back home to shower.

Since you now need a passport getting into the US when we finally did get to the border the border patrol was a total f****** A******!!!!

Oh my gosh! He was a total dick. He made a really, really rude stab at my country. A country of which I happen to be a citizen of. Since you can get away without a passport until about the end of summer he says to me "Our law here says you need to have a passport" I explained it was in the mail since passport Canada has been totally bonkers with applications, they closed their online application. Since I do have dual citizenship I didn't think it would be a total freak out, the 4th day of the law enforcement.
Anyway I am border patrol hear me roar guy goes on to say, I kid you not "In the USA not having a passport is against the law. You can get away with law breaking in your country but not here"

Excuse me??

If he wouldn't have turned us around right there and refused to let me enter I would have given him a piece of my mind. I really, really wanted my camera though. I held my tongue. Oh so hard for me....so hard.

Anyway we get into the US after about an hour we all settled down and went to Subway and then to a cool craft shop! I got some cool cowboy conchos, you'll hear about those later. Oh and a ton of beads. We spent 4 hours in that store! My mom, my aunt, my moms friend and I. I got a lot of beads made out of bone.

Sheesh, me 1, bank account-...well lets just say it's minus a lot right now lol.

Finally we got to my other aunts. Lets just say I couldn't wait to play with my camera, but we had to go out for dinner.

COME ON!! I JUST WANT MY CAMERA TO PLAY WITH D: < onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_LIAAygEodww/SijEjzQSQ0I/AAAAAAAAAXQ/DRDUcQJDS6k/s1600-h/DSC_0019.jpg">Thats just me pointing the camera at her too. I didn't even know what it was gonna turn out like. Sleep time for me and a long day tomorrow.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My passions: horses, art and photography

They have been my passion since before I even knew what the word meant! Photography can be art just as much as drawing or braiding or painting can be. I just love it.

I've been on a camera kick lately as you might have read from my last post I just bought a new Nikon D60 camera and a few lenses. However I am not new to cameras. My aunt is a professional photographer and even though it was a few years ago I did go to some photography classes with her. Mostly I listened and became the model for all the other people taking the class. I guess they thought I was some sort of cute kid or something.

Heres some stuff that all you avid photographers might appreciate. A beginners summary of some primary lens things. I guess you can use it for point and shoot too, especially if you are shopping for one and know what you shoot often.

First of all cameras can be put into 2 categories:

Compact camera: The lens is perminantly attached and cannot be altered or changed. Most digital cameras in wal mart or other stores are compact cameras and they can be good.

Single lens reflex (SLR): You can use different lenses by attaching them to the camera for the type of photo shoot you are doing. Most SLR's are digital so they would be called DSLR's. It's sad, the dark room was pretty cool but digital is just so much easier and cheaper in the long run. You only print whats needed and you can alter them on the computer, especially if you shoot in RAW (i'll get to that later).

Lens: A camera is only as good as it's lenses. The lens is like the eye of the camera. Imagine being partially blind and trying to see a gorgeous landscape. It would be blurry, possibly not even look like a landscape. That is what crappy lenses do to your camera, they are like bad eyeballs. It's worth the money for the good brand name lenses.

If you look at the front of your lens (the part pointing at your subject) you will see some numbers written along it. I'll use the lens I got an 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 Lens. 18-55mm is the focal length range. 18 is the shortest distance the lens can focus at and 55 the longest.
A short focal length allows a wider scene or wide angle view and zooming in on a subject is a narrow angle view.
Lenses for short focal lengths are called wide angle lenses. Lenses for long focal lengths are called telephoto lenses. Wide angle lenses make things look further apart and telephoto makes subjects look closer.
The other number f/3.5-5.6 is the aperture. Aperture is a hole in the lens kind of like your retina. It's also commonly known as an F-stop.
It allows light to hit the film or in a digitals case, the sensor. Aperture is like your eye. If you are in a bright situation your pupil is smaller to allow less light in, if you are in the dark your pupil is larger to allow more light to help you try and see. A higher number lets less light in and a lower number lets more in. Apeture I find is important in night scenes where you are trying to get as much light as possible. You want a low aperture for those shots.

RAW-They are images but they are "raw" just like a sirloin they need to be spiced and cooked before they turn into an edible steak. Shooting in RAW is like a digital negative. It preserves an image 100% to what you saw through the lens than another format. It's very useful but very time consuming. You need to edit a RAW image into something viewable using a program capable of editing RAW images. Photoshop comes with one and I know theres a few other very popular ones out there.

The camera is only as good as the person behind it.
I admit I got a nicer camera with more options. My point and shoot Kodak as I have expressed has a very slow shutter speed. I would see a great shot, click and...miss. Especially when shooting horses I end up with lots of butts, blurs of manes, random eyeballs. Even on the sports setting it has a very hard time catching anything that does more than a standstill. When it does catch something it's horribly grainy. The ISO goes pretty high though. It has this horrible autofocus that I can't for the life of me or the life of the manual be able to shut off. It tries to pick out the subject and focus on it but often times it zones in on something completely irrelevant to the subject, like a bush in the background.
It has taken some very good pictures though. It catches colour with amazing clarity when in natural light. It's also idiot proof. My dad can use it. My dad can't even use the dvd player.

I'm most excited to be able to shoot in RAW. If you haven't read a lot of my old posts you might have missed it but I am kind of a computer nerd. I have done web design for the past 6 years now, mostly for friends but a few small businesses fell in there. I also fix and build computers. I've had many, many computers. I have the very first version of photoshop. I also have every version in between the first and the latest that I am using right now.

This is gonna be fun.
Have I mentioned I can't wait to go to my uncles and get my new camera?
As I was coming home about quarter to 10 there was the COOLEST fork lightning. I drove down to the lake and sat in the car at the top of the hill pouting because I didn't have a camera.
In a nutshell here is what I missed today:
A pack of wild turkeys. They are so cool. They just re-introduced them to the area about 15 years ago. Three years ago I seen my first one around here. Now I see on average 15-25 of them at a time.
I also seen a bald eagle being attacked by some crows. It was cool.
My friends cat was being cute and cuddled right up to me for scritches. Of course I had black on. I was instantly furred but who can't be in love with 20 pounds of purring, rubbing, kneading, happy cat? I love to take pictures of cats. I make them sticks with feathers and dangly things on them then take pictures of them. Oh heres a picture taken with the Kodak that my friend absolutely loves.
I printed it for her and she framed it. His name is Kitten. He will forever be one.

More on cameras later. I just can't wait!
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