Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More Anna Accolades

Jennifer, another niece who is a horse person, sent this email in response to my last post. She said so well what I feel about Anna's accomplishment that I'm sharing it as a follow-up on the blog.
It should be noted that she is competing with a lot of kids whose parents buy them already-trained $15,000 horses, with another good $10,000 of tack, training and clothes thrown in—whereas Anna does it from the GROUND UP. SHE is the one doing the training, SHE is the one making the decisions at the auction, SHE is the one thinking things through and taking responsibility and working her fingers to the bone. I saw a lot of girls with fancy horses, and outfits perfectly matched to the day-glo orange, pink, green or lavender tack and saddle pads, and I thought, these kids don’t have an ounce of the grit, character and integrity Anna has. And Idaho sure is a cutie!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Anna and Idaho

This is Anna, my youngest brother's girl, and here's the story of her and her horse.

$50 saved from babysitting. (All profit numbers exclude boarding and feed, vets and farrier. That was out of her Daddy's pocket.)

When she was 14 years old, she went to Shipshewana and bought a 9-month Clydesdale for $50 with her babysitting money. She broke the colt and then sold him for $1500.

No horse. $1450 profit.

They gave her $400 down and she went back to the auction and bought a Belgian for $250.

One Horse plus $1200 profit.

The couple that bought the Clydesdale went bankrupt and the horse was returned to her.

Two horses plus $100 profit.

She sold the Belgian to her farrier for $250.

One horse plus $350 profit.

She went with the stable owner to rescue wild mustangs that had been neglected after being placed in a stable in Indiana. They came home with a mother and her daughter. Anna traded the Clydesdale for the daughter plus two saddles.

One horse plus $350 profit and two saddles.

They then discovered that both females were pregnant. So this young lady learned about foaling and taking care of a foal. She traded the foal for stable rent and she has stopped trading and focused on Idaho, her

And she has done a remarkable job as evidenced by this large banner. This is the third year she went to state with her horse. I didn't know what a halter show was until today. She was competing in jumping today but it was cancelled after the horses fell in the mud from last night's rain. She also competes in equitation and now I am way over my head as I am not a horse person, but I think that is also called English riding.

After the jumping competition was cancelled, brother Bill and I walked around the fair and I was particularly taken with the rabbits. These were some HUGE rabbits. That's Bill's thumb for scale.

But this was my favorite breed, with the racing stripe down its back, the overdone eyeliner, and the exaggerated black lipstick.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rain, Glorious Rain

We have had a drought this summer. While we are only 3.5" under average for the year, most of the rain came in April and early May. We may have had a tenth of an inch this summer...until last Saturday. It rained again yesterday and I gloried in it. It is raining now. Except it is coming down at a rate of 2" to 4" an hour! Couldn't we have long gentle rains periodically? I'm sure the hydrangea blooms are on the ground and I wonder if my staked plants (delphiniums, dahlias, etc.) are holding up at the site.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day--July

What starts as white and turns purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red? If you answered a prism, you are right, but my garden was white six months ago and is now purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Here is a sampling of what another Bloom Day brings.

First some whites:

Then some purples:

There are lots of blues in my garden:

The greens are in all the pictures. The yellows are a nice counterpoint to the blues:

Oranges are well-represented also. Remember these blooms are spread over several acres.

Not many true reds, but I'm counting this tiny allium.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Rejoice with me

Jesus told a parable about a woman who had ten coins and loses one, so she searches until she finds it. "And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.' " I am calling you together to rejoice with me for I have found the friend which I had lost.

I have been blessed with many friends but I lost Elizabeth. She moved to Denver in 1981 with her husband and was widowed shortly thereafter. Then she dropped off the face of the earth. I searched but could not find her. Last December I found a phone number on the Internet for her older brother who is a poobah in Michigan's state government, but I could not get past his gatekeepers so I left a message.

Then Friday night I got a phone call from her. Between sobs and laughs, I learned that she had sent a note to a non-profit, where she found my name on the list of Board members on their website. I used both my maiden and married name so she wasn't sure if it was me. She was telling her older brother about it and he remembered that someone sent him an email with my phone number on it.

Elizabeth. Such an important part of my life from the time I met her in 1978 until we lost touch 12 years later. She was bigger than life. And expanded my life in so many ways.

These pictures are from the late 70s and early 80s. Here she is in my parent's kitchen. A Georgia peach mixed with Cajun blood.

I don't remember anything about this camping trip, but I know we had a good time. We always did.

I do remember this party though. The food was incredible, including a veal dish that took ten days to prepare. Arvel Bird, a friend who was also a world-class fiddler, played bluegrass in her back yard. Everything she did was just a little over-the-top for this earth girl.

Here she is in my living room after she married Gary.

And this picture was taken in Denver during one of my visits. As strange as this might seem, this was the first step in making dinner for me.

Elizabeth, if you are reading this, I love you.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day in the garden

My garden isn't red, white and blue. Today it is mostly blue and yellow. However, I was able to find these patriotic colors for you.

RED: I had to search for this color and then I remembered the beebalm on the shady side of the house. This picture could count as red and white if you include the powdery mildew and the artemesia. But I just ignore them and so should you.

WHITE: This spring I had lots of white flowers, but now the most distinctive white is the hydrangea next to the garden shed.

So many blues from which to choose. I finally settled on blue larkspur and blue fescue. If you ever planted larkspur, you know that it freely self-seeds everywhere in the garden and the challenge is to edit it so it look like you may have planted it. I hadn't noticed this combination until I took my camera to the garden.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Can you believe I forgot my own blogiversary? The traditional gift is wood and the modern gift is silverware. Yes, it was over five years ago that I posted this:

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

I just returned from a stroll through my garden tonight. After a day of gentle rain, the air is heavy, pure and sweet. The garden is faintly illuminated by stars, fireflies (the first of the season!) and the white flowers - columbine, daisies, iris, peonies. The heavy spice scent is from the dianthus I planted just for the fragrance, although I enjoy the small fringed flowers of palest pink on the blue-green foliage during the day. But the night is not still. Oh the noise! Noise louder than any city sounds that kept me awake in a strange hotel room during my business traveling days. Frogs. The Spring Peepers and Bullfrogs I can identify, but what is making all those other odd sounds? Crazy Eddy once gave me a tape so I could identify frogs for DNR research. I had no problem when they played one sound at a time or even two, but I could never ID the frogs when they were in full chorus.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rollin' on the river

Riverboat season is in full swing and the St. Joe (Maumee Basin) lures us with her charms.

First we power up, by turning the newly acquired antique wheel* to transfer power from the engine to the drive shaft to turn the paddle wheels. This is my cue to sing the chorus from Proud Mary.

That's my father-in-law standing on the upper deck and my husband operating the craft.

Like the ancient Phoenicians, we use a tiller to steer the boat.

You can see one of the red paddlewheels on the right side of the picture

Unless turning, it takes very little effort to steer.

But what's that wooden pole in every picture?

A fish net is hooked on the end of a long pole so we can quickly scoop up any trash we might find sullying the face of our river.

The basswoods are in bloom and every so often their delicate scent is sent our way.

So we sing, we nature watch, we clean-up, we unwind on the river. Not too much different than what I posted about five years ago. Here's a copy since I can't link to the old individual posts:
We have been enjoying the pontoon on the river. Picture this. Pontoon is tied off on the shady side of the river. Boys are fishing. Mom is bouncing big bubbles down the current using her own soap bubble recipe. Dad is playing his dulcimer. Great blue herons, green herons, belted kingfishers, red-tailed hawks, and swallows fly overhead. A muskrat swims across the river, leaving a long wake. Turtles sun on a log with no worry about skin cancer. We pull up anchor and drift toward the sunset reflected in the river. Back at the property, we build a small fire, cook supper, tell stories, make up songs, watch the stars and laugh and love each other. 7/08/2002 02:28:00 PM
I still remember what a friend said about this post. She said the picture it created in her mind was so different from what she knew was real, although everything I said was true. The 12 y.o. boys are fishing but also squabbling. Dad is playing the dulcimer but also controlling the sibling chaos. Mom is blowing bubbles but in her river clothes and not a gauzy summer dress.

* Antique wheel: Steve called me at work last week and said, "You know you are a redneck when you view going to a junkyard as a shopping trip." Steve and Ron cleaned the barn and took a load of steel to sell at a junkyard and spent more than they received: the wheel for the boat, a new radio for the truck, and two steel toolboxes.