Which of my animals are trustworthy? Plus more NEW ART!

May 20, 2023

This week felt pretty good, I got a lot accomplished on the ranch, had some great sessions with clients, met some new people, and have two new volunteers! Even on a small place like ours, the list is a mile long and growing, so it's exciting to have some help!

FYI, I will trade neurofeedback for volunteering! (Also FYI, no, I'm not taking your little kids who "love animals" as volunteers lol. That's called babysitting 😆 )

Lately it seems I don't have a full half a day to dedicate to mowing so I'm spending an hour a day mowing instead. I can't tell you how much it hurts my heart to mow grass that animals could be eating but it's not fenced yet.

However I can allow certain animals out loose to graze for a bit and while that doesn't really put a dent in it, I love it:

Denali, the black and white goat in the front is completely trustworthy, like the Polar Bear. Stays near me. Visits the big white barn next door with me, meets horses, curious about cats, meets new people—her years as one of my goat yoga goats has served her well :-)

The other three girls...they can be let out as long as I have my "invisible leash" (sweet feed) nearby. All three of them are more prone to get into things they shouldn't and running before they think. Denali mostly looks to me if something goes wrong but like any prey animal could just freak out and hightail it back to the safety of the barn.

Raynie is my trustworthy mare. I've had her the longest and it shows. Lately Wynter has been stealing her food so she eats outside of the fence and is then free to graze in the front yard. I always ask her, "Will you stay close?" and she always says yes—so far anyway! She did walk off into the forest once this week. I called out to her, "Raynie! That's not okay! You need to come back up to the grass!" And when she didn't respond, I went off in a huff to get her halter. I took two steps toward her and she ran out of the forest to me, eyes wide, "I'm sorry!!" She hasn't done it since.

And of course the Polar Bear is trustworthy! She's rarely on a leash and she's almost always with me:

But Sweetness? You'll remember I tried this with him some months ago. He did great for a bit and then decided to run into the forest. Not a big deal really if he'd stay close but he kept going further and further. The last few times I had to go get him and that's not the way this game works. No fair making me work harder! I have wondered if he might stay close if Rayn were out with him but I haven't tried it yet.

And what about Wynter you ask? 

Ok, ok, I can't say that he's not trustworthy with 100% certainty. I've not tried it yet but he shows so much interest in the horses at the boarding facility next door that I think he would go visiting if given the chance. And since he's the leader (much to Rayn's dismay) he'd take the whole herd with him. That's my guess anyway. I might do some clicker training with him, see if I can get him to stay close. Donkey too. (Also, look at sweet Polar Bear in this pic😍)

Back to the Wonder of Rayn! I can't tell you how cool it is to have her loose with me in the front yard. When I was growing up in southern California, my best friend Michelle had a horse. She kept it at a boarding facility that was along the riverbed. The far edge of our neighborhood had access to the riverbed and occasionally she would ride (probably she and her mom) her horse into our neighborhood and then ride around in her little backyard. It was this dreamy idea for me, to have a horse in the yard. Now granted, I live on a farm, so it's not too weird, but it still makes my 8 year old heart so happy to see Rayn like this:

I had to add some sparkles to show off her unicorn energy:

And the last one above cracked me up because of who was in the background:

These two dogs are such opposites!

The Polar Bear on the left, "Ommmmmmmmm..."

And I Love Lucy on the right (also not trustworthy but oh so sweet) yelling, "Mom! Mom! Mom! There's a loose horse in the front yard! MOM!!!!"

Also, you can see that my doors are still not painted yellow! OMG!

It was fun to watch Denali and Rayn interact this week when I was feeding Rayn:

"Dude, did you just put a bucket down? For me?"

"I better hurry, that horse has her head in my bucket! Wait! Mom says it's not mine!? Maybe she'll share."

Rayn did not want to share:

And I am always interested in goat feet and how they climb and balance on things. I hope one of my volunteers can work with B-Rad and maybe get a log jungle gym built for the goats soon. For now, they use Muletta the golf cart to climb on:

Oh! Goats eat poison ivy!:

It's growing like crazy because we live in the jungle, I probably need another 50 goats to eat down all the poison ivy we have right now!

One of the things I'd love for them to also eat is all the muscadine grape vines in the forest! They don't seem to care for them though darn it. I keep mowing into the trees to keep it down to a dull roar. In good news though, the muscadine on the grape arbor are showing first signs of grapes:

I can't help it, as a child of the 80s I think these grapes taste like Grape Ape bubblegum! So sweet! Best to eat outside since you have to spit seeds out :-)

Also joyful—the huge 40+ year old magnolia trees at the entrance to our little neighborhood are beginning to bloom! This one was just on the edge of fading but still so perfect:

It's about the size of a dinner plate! As much as I complain about the 4 months of obnoxious heat and humidity here, I have to say it brings some beautiful plant life! And my little pond brings all kinds of birds and their antics to my office window. A little hummingbird comes by to say hi, peering into my windows. It happened last year too, I love seeing it!

And yesterday the crows were trying to get into a bluebird box. I had been watching the bluebirds diving at  two crows all morning to keep it from getting to their eggs/babies. Later in the day, I saw the crows come back but no bluebirds. I was on the edge of running out and chasing it off, getting my shoes on and charging out the door, when out of nowhere came mom and dad bluebirds at mach speeds and hot on their tails were two mockingbirds! All four started diving at the crow who was clinging on the bluebird box and it didn't take long before they left under their fierce attack. Incredible! I've not ever seen birds work together like that!


I finished another painting! I'm in love with this one, the colors just get me! I found this photo on a site called unsplash.com where you can get free royalty free photos—meaning you can do whatever you'd like to do with them: use them on your website, use them as reference photos, etc. Here's what I chose:

I liked this one in particular because it had strong lights and darks and I knew I wanted to play with looser hair that kind of blended into the background. Plus the pop of the white earrings and that tiny white highlight on the center of her upper lip caught my interest.

First layers (It's not a layer per pic—it's whenever I come up for air and go: Huh, I should take a pic! There are many more layers than there are pictures.):

#2: This was where I was debating on bringing back her original expression (more slanty eyed and open mouth) but decided I liked her better the way I was painting her. She isn't a commission, I'm practicing so I'm allowed to play :-)

#3-4: I was feeling very nervous about what I was planning for her hair but I reminded myself that there are horrors to be afraid of in life and painting wasn't one of them. I jumped in and loved it immediately:

#7 I wanted to keep the focus on her face/hair so I blurred the lower quarter of the painting.

Please forgive the differences in color, it's crazy to see how the time of day makes a difference! (I'm really liking the intense pinks of #6 and will probably paint something with that color palette at some point.) I stood next to the actual painting to compare and this is what it looks like:

Beauty in Grief, 18x24" acrylic on canvas, 5/2023


What I think my brother is thinking when I send him a text novella:

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