A Better Body Clip

(Photo Gallery) To improve on my previous body-clipping job, I did not have to change very much: be patient with your horse, use new or recently sharpened blades, use good clipper oil, keep your clipper blades cool, work on a clean, dry horse, allow enough time but move quickly. That is pretty much all you need to do to get a decent clip. Add a little more care and some practice and your second clipping job will usually look better than your first. Continue reading

A Walk in Flowers

(Photo Gallery) A few days ago, I took a walk to look for the mares. On the way, I took some photos of frequently seen California flowers. I don’t know the names of most of them but they are the flowers I have seen all my life, all over Sonoma County. In this time of drought, I have become more alert to the growing things underfoot. I appreciate the grass too, as more than a backdrop for flowers. Not only does it mean we have to buy less hay, but wet grass is a better diet for the horses than dry hay. Continue reading

On the Trail: Point Reyes, California

(Photo Gallery) Point Reyes National Park has a lot of horse-friendly trails, though some are better ridden on weekdays, and some are even closed to horses on weekends.  That is just as well, as the trails are frequented by mountain bikes and hikers on weekends. On weekdays, though, it is very quiet. I have been out there three times this winter and encountered only a few hikers and no bikes.

There are a few places to enter the park. On this late January day, my friend and I used the Bear Valley parking lot. The road to Bear Valley is a bit windy but not terribly steep and the parking area is very easy to get in and out of. It is far enough from the road to feel quite secure for your tied horses. There is a public water trough and a public bathroom by the parking area. The trail names and distances are well marked, but you might need a map or a guide to know which trail to follow. Some of the trails are wide fire roads, some are single-track.

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The Great Fog of 2015

(Photo Gallery) Apparently fog does not go well with my camera’s high-speed setting. A number of these photos made me wish for better resolution, and Photoshop’s Auto-Levels color/contrast adjustment makes many rather gloomy-looking. But I’m no professional, so I’m hoping Photoshop knows better than I do. Here are some shots from a very foggy morning in Petaluma. Continue reading

Morning After

I start digging ditches in the morning fog as the geldings munch their hay. By the time I have finished, the fog has cleared. The geldings are still munching. Driving into town along a back road, I see vultures on fence posts, wings spread to dry. A bull is lying down in his pasture, chewing. Sunshine, finally.

Halloween Dream

Just woke up from a disturbing dream. I was in a big old building, like a hotel or a school dorm. Really big, old like monastic, stone walls and stained glass old. Old.

There’s a ghost in the dream, a spectre I’m aware of. I’m getting ready for bed and the lights are off and I hear the little ghoul. It’s a child. It’s a seven year old size ghost and I hear its little bare feet trot into the room. I see it out of the corner of my eye. It lingers at a door then goes into the next room, giggling, a creepy distant sound in the dark.

I don’t see it clearly enough to say if it looks like a boy or a girl, it’s a shimmery scampering thing is all. I don’t act as one should in scary dreams so, heart pounding, I follow it quietly. I can see it just barely, now crouching on the window sill. It’s a great big window with sills big enough to sit in, and heavy drapes. It’s giggling and clutching the drapes around itself. I still can’t really see it but out of the corner of my eye.

I flick on the light switch but the lights don’t go on. I run at it and grab it by the shoulders anyway. It grabs at my face but I wrap it up and hold its arms down. I cannot decide what to do with it and I wake up.