Sunday, May 31, 2009

162 - Jumping, Leaping, Bouncing

This theme lends itself to one subject (in my book, anyway). Bet you can't guess! (Yeah, right.)

Hey, she's six weeks old now!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

176 - Look Alikes

OK, so it takes a little imagination. This big gnarly piece of tree (the rear one) was at one time part of a combination of trees that, when the water level was just right, looked like a dragon playing in the water.

The head was just breaking the surface, there was a loop of the back, and then the tail, which came straight up out of the water and swung off to the east. The bridge builders took out a lot of trees where they were going to put the new bridge. The dragontree was not in the way, but between their machinations, and the drought in 2006, the dragontree was broken up, and this part washed ashore on the south side of the new bridge. (I do believe there was a dragon in the lake, her spirit living in the dragontree. On a full moon-lit night, you could see her out there, playing in the silkenlight of the moon on the water! When they destroyed her tree, she chose to leave the area. I miss her.

If you look really hard, and let your imagination loose, you can almost see the spark of dragonspirit that once inhabited this bit of log. That's a dragon's head! No one will ever convince me otherwise!

Friday, May 29, 2009

353 - Water

This is the edge of the shore, beside where the old FM 3286 bridge still stands (its skeleton, at least). It was a bit windy, and the waves were leaping up the side of the shore. I just kind of liked the leaping water, and the theme title was just made for this theme (or vice versa). (View it at full size for the full effect.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

36 - Broken

This old tree was hit by lightning four or five years ago. I thought it was surely dead, but it just wasn't ready to go! The dead part shades the sheep in the heat of the afternoon, and the live part shows that it ain't over 'til it's over. Best lesson "broken" has ever taught me (other than don't jump on a board that is not supported in the middle--I was ten, OK?).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

183 - Metallic

This big house went up on top of a hill not far from my home. I never even realized they were building it, but when the sun reflects off that dynamite copper roof, there's no missing it! It's set far enough back from the road, and with a rusty barbed wire fence surrounding it, that this is as close as I could get. I love that copper roof, and can't wait until it gets the lovely patina that Mother Nature will give it over time!

What a great view of Lake Lavon they have, too. (It's on the other side of the hill.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

273 - Seeds

There are still some dandelion seeds clinging to the puffball, but it looks like my front yard will soon be sprouting a few more dandelions! My husband thinks they're weeds. I think they're beautiful! Cheerful and smiley face yellow, they persevere even in the face of the lawnmower!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

74 - Dangerous

This innocuous looking grass is tall fescue, and it is the cause of a great deal of trouble and expense for me. This grass has a parasite called an endophyte (a parasite to the plant--a symbiotic relationship which is beneficial to both the grass and the endophyte). This endophyte is a real problem for breeders of horses, sheep and goats, although it doesn't appear to affect cattle. (Sheep and goats get the worst of it--I won't go into the gory details, and they really are gory.)

In horses it causes a number of issues related to the hormonal disruptions it causes. I lost a gorgeous Appy colt in 2006 because of some hay that had a lot of fescue in it. This year, I discovered a drug called domperidone (brand name Equidone) which counteracts some, but not all, of the effects of endophyte toxicity. The result was my Symphony in Silk. The expense is $100 a month until the foal is weaned. I can't imagine the expense for a large horse! Ladyhawk weighs about 350 lbs. At 1100 or 1200, the dose is increased proportionately! OUCH!

Anyway, this lovely batch of fescue was photographed in my pasture, grown from seeds that were in that hay. So innocent looking. So dangerous for baby horses, lambs, kids . . .

Thursday, May 21, 2009

48 - Childhood Favorite

I've always loved dragons! (Not as much as horses, but when's the last time you petted a dragon?) These are two of he dragon figurines I've collected over the years. Most of them have gone on to other homes, other dracophiles, but somehow these two guys, along with a tiny pewter one, have stuck around. They were always my favorites.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

325 - Things That Go

Ladies' Single Pleasure Driving class. Yes, those little horses sure can go!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

208 - On the Road

This is the first half of a sharp s-turn that I tackle every day, to and from work. Amazing how often they have to replace or repair that guard rail. (And those are million dollar + homes on the other side of those bushes--those 10-foot-tall bushes!) There was no guard rail at all until they built the first few of those homes.

BTW: Those 10 ft bushes were less than 18" tall when they were planted. My husband worked for the landscape company that put them in, and put most of them in himself! (That was 33 years ago!)

Speed limit's 35, I usually take it around 40, but never if the weather's bad. Wet weather, it's a 25 mph turn.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

177 - Looking Down

This is Symphony on her first day out of the stall (four days old). A horse's lips are equivalent to a human's fingers, so mouthing and tasting everything is the first thing they do. This brat, I mean filly, has only her four milk teeth (and I have the bruise on my arm to prove she can use them!). She's checking out the semi-dried dirt clods, lumps, etc. in the front lot.

The camera setting was all wrong, and the picture was way too dark. Once I lightened it up to where it was readily visible, the color noise was so loud I had to plug my ears (eyes?)! B&W does wonders with photos that would otherwise be a wash, so I gave it a try. I use the Black and White on Photoshop, rather than Desaturate, because it gives me the ability to enhance or diminish each color separately, which allows me to get the best possible B&W image.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

223 - Pair

I'm running out of photos! But the sun is out today (finally!!) and I'll be out later with my trusty sidekick the D80, making like the photographic big game hunter: looking for anything worth shooting! My way's much better: No blood!

Horse show pic again. Single Pleasure, Under class in AMHR show. (The "Under" means under 34". "Over" is over 34" to 38". They used to call it A and B divisions. I prefer that. Under/Over implies imperfect height to my mind. No one ever said my mind was normal!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

183 - Living the Green Life

Can't get much greener (or oranger???) than a ladybug on a weedstalk. When I was photographing the unusual green butterfly (a few posts back), I saw this little lady on a nearby plant, slowly making her way around and down, on her way to ?? where? I don't know where ladybugs go, but I'm always glad to see one on her journey.

Monday, May 11, 2009

127 - Grass, Lawn, Turf

A neighbor around the corner has a lovely stand of bluebonnets in his side yard every spring. I had to get a shot or two, and this is the view from the street. His three little trees (about 7 or 8 feet tall now) are ankle deep in bluebonnets. They may be common here in the spring, but they're beautiful. I think they're about the best thing about Texas!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

235 - Places of Worship

Happy Mother's Day!!!!

Some people think church/synagogue/mosque is where you go to worship whatever deity you believe in. If he/she is truly the creator of all, isn't "all" a place of worship, as well? I find myself closer to spirit in nature, rather than in a manmade building. If you can't see your God in these places, then where? (A very small god indeed, if a building is the only place he/she resides!)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

63 - Concrete

Here's the one set of girders they removed from the bridge before removing themselves from the scene. Kids play on them while their parents fish. (Scares me to death--too many rough edges and holes, but I'm a paranoid grandparent! I'm always complaining that today's kids are too protected for their own good, so here I am complaining about kids not protected enough. I think the overprotectiveness of our society is rubbing off! Aaaarrrrrggghhhhhhh!) Still, it doesn't look like the best playground equipment . . .

Thursday, May 7, 2009

217 - Out of Date

The remains of the old bridge on FM3286 still stand beside the (much wider & safer) new bridge. I wish they could have left it available for foot traffic and the many bicycle races that come through this way. There are "No Fishing From Bridge" signs on the new one; the old one would have been ideal for that!

Right after the top layers were removed, and one section of girders, the construction crew abandoned the site. (Although yesterday, it looked like they may have returned--after two months--or it could be a new crew. Rumors are that the old crew ran out of money and shut down, but I don't know how much truth there is to that. Rumors fill any informational void!)

Anyway, Out Of Date seemed to fit the old bridge, which was built when Lake Lavon was filled, back in 1953 (that bridge was as old as me!). It was narrow two lane, with absolutely NO shoulder. Where the yellow outside line was, the bridge rail was an inch away, and the bridge was a mile long! Could get scary sometimes!! I'm glad it's gone! (Well, sort of gone.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

67 - Costume

The pleasure harness classes at any horse show require various levels of dress-up. The Ladies Single Pleasure sports the most elaborate and elegant of all. This lovely lady is dressed to the nines in her Single Pleasure costume (with jeans hidden under the long dress coat!). I just thought she was so beautiful in that had and red coat, I just couldn't resist snapping a few shots off as she drove by. (Do you believe it? A horse-related post with NO HORSE in it!!!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

351 - Warnings

A warning sign for underground power lines -- do you suppose that scissortail swallow is reading the warning? He seems awfully unconcerned, and quite comfortable, too. From the looks of the sign, it's a frequent rest stop for birds of one kind or other!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

172 - Lines

What are reins for a riding horse, are called "lines" on a driving horse. The lines should keep the bit in contact with the horse's mouth, but not nagging him (in other words, firm but not tight) Unlike a riding horse, you can't use your legs and body as cues to the horse. Those lines are your only means of communication--other than your voice, which is one way communication--the lines are two way. You learn through your fingers to "listen" as well as to "talk" to the horse. That's called "feel", and it's one of those things some folks come by naturally, some don't. I never had a good seat on a horse, but I do have good "feel."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

170 - Legs

I chose this photo of 6-day-old Symphony because . . . well, no explanation needed!

Friday, May 1, 2009

86 - Environmental Portraits

I don't know what kind of butterfly this is, but it is the first green one I've ever seen. I thought it was just exquisite, with almost translucent wings (which don't really show up on the photo). A beautiful creature! (View full size to get a better look.)

"Have you ever seen a sunset in a perfect sky?
Or noticed the masterpiece we call a butterfly?
We are a witness to these miracles each day.
May it always be this way!"

--We Share the Earth by Mary Ann Kennedy, on her album The Road Less Travelled