Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Louie Kisses

I'm sure all ranches have their own special ranch dogs, but how many of those dogs give kisses to everyone they meet??  Louie has appointed himself the official greeter at Blue Fountain Farm.  Here's a shortened version of Louie's story.....

I found Louie at the shelter in Grass Valley in October - he had been abandoned with a couple of other dogs at a  house in Nevada City.  He is most likely all or mostly Anatolian Shepherd.  He was lying quietly in his enclosure while all around him there was mass chaos, with dogs barking and people moving from pen to pen to see which dog they wanted to take home.  As soon as I saw him, I knew I needed to have him, even though I wasn't the one who was looking for a dog that day........ what can I say........ sometimes you just know that things are meant to be.

It was obvious when he arrived that he'd never been around horses or other large animals in his year and a half or so of life.  He jumped a mile high when he heard a horse whinny!  Well, since he had no bad connotations connected with these big animals, he has decided to be friends with everyone, man and beast.  He's very curious, and goes up to everyone and everything...........with the exception (thankfully) of a snake.  This is as close as he would come to it............

He loves kids - like little Aurora, who comes weekly for her lessons........

As seen in the very first photo, he really loves the cows.  At first the calves came over to the fence, and he kissed them, then big mama came over to make sure everything was OK.........

And this calf looks like he's saying, "My, what big teeth you have!"

Louie loves to follow Rhea and Beaver on their rounds (see the blog on them dated April 10th). 

Here he's communing with "Lil Beaver.

   and he and Rhea are checking in with each other...........

He met "Beetle" the Shetland sheep ewe, and soon........

they were telling each other their most special secrets.

He even gets along well with Alexandria, the princess house kitty...

Louie is a fun-loving dog with many talents - such as leading horses

and playing imaginary games with his toys...........

In his short time here at the ranch, Louie has endeared himself to all around him, and, like many of my photographic subjects, I have many more photos than I would put up here.   He's quite the character - I always wonder what he's going to be up to next...........


Monday, April 26, 2010

What do you get.........

...when you mix equestian activities with wine tasting?

You get a lot of very happy people!  On Sunday, after riding my  new horse Amadeus,

then teaching our well attended, morning group lessons, everyone put their horses away, cleaned themselves up a little, and we all ventured next door (via Bobcat and Mule UTVs, or on foot) to our neighbors, Naggiar Vineyard and Winery, for a fabulous afternoon of wine tasting and fun. 

I was expecting around 30 people to attend, but I found out what a popular combination horses and wine are when we ended up with about 45 people showing up to join in on the glorious day, the horses, and the promise of a full afternoon of wine tasting!  Mike and Diane Naggiar, and their family and staff, were very gracious hosts, and hustled to make ready for the extra people.  You see, their wine tasting parties, are comprised of many parts.  First we got to tour and taste wines from the barrel room, where Mike started our education on growing grapes, types of grapes, making wine, and many more things...... 


then we all hiked up to the new, gorgeous wine tasting room (that just opened up last summer).


We were seated in the luxurious private tasting room, where not only did our education continue, but, with the tasting of each wine, we were served an appropriate type of food - yes......food!  So now we have incredible spring weather, horses, wine, wonderful hosts, and - food!   OMG!

We filled the room to capacity (the above photo is comprised of several photos "stitched" together - click on the image and you'll see the large version), and were treated like royalty.  After the tasting and food ended (darn!), many of us went to the tasting room next door to make purchases or browse the available merchandise.


So, not only do I have the luxury of looking out to the east of Blue Fountain Farm every day and seeing the seasonal changes of the vines at Naggiar Vineyards, I have a very special place to take my customers and friends for a unique treat here in the Gold Country Foothills.  Thanks to the Naggiar family for their part in a memorable day. 



Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Eyes Have It

"The Eyes are the Windows to the Soul"

I googled that phrase to see who should get the credit for it, and there was no straight answer - the Bible, an Ancient Proverb, Dante..........who knows? Answer or not, it's a great saying, and I had the thought today to check out all the animals here at Blue Fountain Farm, and look into their eyes. I discovered that not only are there quite a few different types of eyes, but each animal has it's own "look", it's own way of seeing the world. No, I can't see into their souls, nor can I see out through their eyes, but they each have something to say.

Horses eyes - I have hundreds of images of them - but these other critters.........I was surprised by some of the things I saw - the differences from one animal to another.........
The calf next door,
"Jasmine" the goat,

The sparrow at the bird feeder,
"Beetle" the ewe,

Alexandria the prima-donna cat

Joe Llama - the exceptional llama,

And, of course, Louie the Wonder Dog.

How can we say they aren't intelligent..........I don't know about that..............

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rainy Day

April showers, that's for sure! One day it's in the high 70's, and the next day it's raining, hailing, then sunny, then........well, you get the picture. The fountain was dancing with rain drops today. I have to say, I was very proud of my students - they all showed up for their lessons - no one bugged out because of the weather!

Before the lessons started, I cruised around getting some shots around the barn......the outdoor saddle racks certainly won't get used, and, although the bridles are all clean, it looks, after Sunday's lessons, like everyone had a differnt idea of how to hang them up. And, I don't know about you, but does everyone have a collection of bits that just seems to get bigger and bigger? I'm sure I haven't used some of these in years, but - you never know - you might just need one sometime!!

The flowers are reveling in the rain, and my little blue horse is an easy keeper - no blanketing needed for him!

Thank goodness for the covered arena on days like this - it really came down sometimes.

In spite of all the wet weather, the horses behaved themselves very well today, as did their riders.

Louie might look forlorn in the rain, but he's really just waiting for lessons to be done, and thinking about......... who knows what. For today, I'll let him do the thinking!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day Off

In case you're looking for any photos of horses today, I'm sorry, you won't see any. One of my favorite things to do on my day off from my horse job is to practice my photographic skills on something other than horses. So, while at Seth's "Nutty Acres" today, I wandered around and caught a few images of the surroundings. The first two images are of an unusual group of California poppies - yellow ones - that were amongst the normally bright orange ones. Maybe some sort of Hybrid??

Then, there are the peacocks - it's really hard to get anything but a good image of these beauties. Mr Peacock (there are two Mr's and a Mrs) is pretty friendly, and I was able to get the image of his back feathers when he walked right next to me. He seemed to be communing with the Buddah today, then spent some time posing for the camera.

The rooster making all the noise (I know, you can't hear him, but trust me, he's making noise!) is "Pretty Boy". He's got a harem of gals who love to follow him around. Both the peacocks and the chickens will soon be joined by more chickens and ducks - little guys and gals now - but soon they will be old enough to roam the property like the big kids.

The cherry orchard is just past it's blossoming prime, but still a great sight. I'm looking forward to all the cherries that we'll be picking to offer at our Blue Fountain Farmer's Market this summer - yummy!

The lupine were certainly a draw for the bees.........

I thought I'd leave you with a shot of a smiling truck - Seth's '38 or '39 (I forget) Ford truck. I love taking photos of this truck from all angles, but this one made me smile when I saw the image I'd captured.

Back to the horses tomorrow - yea to a day off, and yea to the horses!

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