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Wild violets - another favorite

Wild violets - another favorite

On Susan’s blog, she is asking a question a day – favorite flower, favorite new song, kind of a universal “getting to know you” thing.  Her book Just Breathe is just out in paperback, and it is part of a giveaway she is doing. I just added her site “The View From Here” to my blogroll at the right.  Actually I think it is spurred on by wondering who is reading the blog, and getting them to post a comment.  I share that curiosity, looking at the Clustermap on the side bar here………lots of foreign hits.  Who reads this ?  Most interesting.

In this next month, it will sadly mark five years since my husband passed away.  Which in walking around the house today, meant that I lived here for almost two years with him, now five more without him.  Time is such an elusive thing.  A memory so sharp it feels like it just happened.  Then things like a persons voice which we lose in the recesses of our memories, and those voices are so hard to pull back.  Each year as that anniversary approaches, I begin what seems to be a cycle of nightmares – trying to save my husband from dying, and either failing, or just having him with us still.  At least I no longer wake up with the happy normal feeling only to have the horrible weight crush my chest again.  That thankfully stopped after six months or so.  Grief is such an odd thing.  When in the midst of it, we seem to fake our way along, and only in hindsight do we see how very badly we handled that portion of our lives.  I am still recovering and just take things one day at a time.   I must not be dead though, as the next paragraph will show……..

In the meanwhile, I got to go to town with mom, and she bought me lunch 🙂 Very nice and unexpected.  We had a car picnic and it was very nice and got my mind going in a different direction thankfully.  Then as we were on our way out, there was that Survivor contestant who lives here in our town, the “Coach” Ben Wade.  I think he must be bored with small town life, he  used to coach soccer, but was apparently let go while filming the Survivor show. He is the  conductor for the local symphony orchestra.  He also holds a world record for solo kayaking something like over 6100 miles.  Like I said, the poor fellow must be bored living here!  He would be more interesting if he were older, he is only 37 apparently.  Ick.  Too young ! I finally found a shot of him that is more dignified….the Survivor promo shot is one for Susan.  Ha !  and for those who are curious, he was dressed today as he is on the LEFT vbg !

So, it is the little things that make us “us” isn’t it ?  What flower we prefer, what type of sweets,  which pets we like or don’t ?  If we were all the same, how very boring life would be !  Enjoy the differences and give your family a hug !

Well, off to do such things as feed that loud sheep – who I need to take a pic of to show who I am complaining about……..


4-26-20093-09-04PM.png picture by MaryLOhio

Before the unveiling – credit unknown.

Last Saturday, at Churchill Downs, the new larger than life Barbaro statue was unveiled.  A most amazing work, it portrays Barbaro in midstretch in his brilliant Derby win.  There were a lot of Fans/Friends of Barbaro (FOB’s)  present and there are a lot of photos on the Alex Brown Racing board.  I don’t know who to credit, so just thank you to whoever took this and posted it for us all to enjoy.

4-26-20093-11-49PM.png picture by MaryLOhio





Absolutely beautiful. Flying.  All four feet off the ground (mounted on the rail)

5:15 am April 27, 2009 Photo by Dick Downey

Barbaro broke down in the Preakness stakes in June and was eventually euthanized due to lamanitis (also known as founder) in January.  What might have been, had he lived, had he not misstepped, so many what if’s.  He was one in a lifetime, a better horse I had never seen.  He knew no bounds, and now is forever free of pain.  His owners the Jacksons and Dr.Dean Richardson were in attendance and spoke of the remarkable horse that was Barbaro.  While there are several full brothers to this horse, lightning rarely strikes twice, and even with many eyes upon them, Nicanor, Lentanor and the baby this year from LaVille Rouge will forever be stamped “Barbaro’s brothers”.  Good luck to them all.

In the literal sense of course.  The kitten is a girl.  I was looking for a Hawaiian name for her.  I think that she is going to have to wait another day for official title.  The  more I look the more options there are.  On a great note, Kona has reappeared, seemingly to the normal routine outside.  She is outside the garage in the sun, washing and sunning herself.  She ate breakfast yesterday then disappeared.  The night was COLD, more ice in the birdbaths.  She must have been waiting for the sun to hit the front of the garage, as she was out there much earlier than usual.  Poor little cat.  She happily accepts food though, and I am so thankful she is still with us. 

I am very slow this morning, but thankful that my neck is behaving a bit better. Yesterday was the day of random numbness in both hands, and that gets bothersome to say the least !

I have a Barbaro post to do, will get it up later on today. 

Pretty morning, still may get some rain.

Interesting things nowadays.  has my site on “live” and there have been lots of new readers checking out what is going on in my corner of the world.  While you are here, check out the links to the right as well, my friends Carol and Melissa and Marie do a great job blogging too !

One of my other friends just launched a new YouTube video, put together with photos of her trip to Point Reyes on her 25th anniversary with her husband.  This is Susan Wiggs, amazing author, and friend.  Here is the link to her video.  Her book “Just Breathe” is now available in paperback.  Quite exciting ! I just saw her book on the spinner rack at the local grocery store Sunday.  Yeah Susan !

Enough for now, Buttercup the sheep is calling for breakfast !

Six days old

Six days old

What a cute baby.  I moved her so I could straighten up the bedding for her and the nurse mom cat Belle.  I put her on this piece of fleece, and she curled up and went right on sleeping.  I will be figuring out a name for her pretty quickly.  They grow so fast…… babies I bottle raised last year are just a year old.  They are the funniest things.  They don’t behave like “normal” cats, they have never bitten or scratched, and pay close attention to me when I talk to them.  Good babies, even if they are a year old.

Got a lot of odds and ends done.  Hay got here and it is in the barn.  Such a nice feeling to have hay on hand……….can’t quite explain it.  Nice at any rate.

Lots of clouds today, does not feel like rain though.  We shall see.  When I was out and about, I saw Kona resting near the creekbed.  Tonight I brought her some food and water, and when I checked on her again, the food was gone and so was she.  She likes to sleep under a storage container at the neighbors, so I think that is where she has gone.  She didn’t appear until well after ten this morning, hours late 🙂

Off to bed, lots to do tomorrow !

We saw the  mare, and while she is not in great shape, she is still there.  The fellow is not inclined to send her back to my friend either.  He did however offer an unbroke unhandled Clydesdale cross mare who is going to foal anytime……..just what someone needs !  A 1700 pound unhandled mare !!!!!!  Oh boy oh boy !  OMG what are people THINKING ?????  Of course this Clyde cross mare is bred to a crummy mustang stallion.   Ah yes, more fodder for the slaughter pipeline.  How very sad.  Mixed up genetics aside, this foal will be unhandled until he or she is weaned and big no doubt.  Aghhh.  Backyard breeders – there is no need for more horses.  Even purebred horses.  My view on breeding is only breed the best to the best.  That excludes broke down horses.  I don’t care that it broke down in training or in a race – or running in the pasture.  That it won money.  IT BROKE DOWN ! That a person paid $ 10,000 for surgery to pin and plate it back together  does NOT MAKE IT BREEDING MATERIAL !!!   That means it is 99% sure to pass on that defect to any foals !!! It excludes horses who won’t run or are too slow to be competitive.  That excludes aggressive horses or stupid ones.  Thus, I have never bred commercially.  Before I knew better, I bred my first rescued mare back, and that foal was fantastic.  Sadly I had to give her up, and I can only pray that she ended up lucky in a good home.  I however doubt it.  I had a good eye for young horses, and had a great time evaluating them at the sales here in Southern California.  My best pick ?  This colt was out of a mare I had worked with……….the mare retired sound and was really a tough girl.  He was by a horse known for hot temper and speed.  If I had $ 32,000 that day, I would have taken him home.  Instead, his breeder took him home to Kentucky.  The van driver had a fatal heart attack on the drive and the trailer ended up upside down.  They cut this colt out of the wreck, and he went on his way back to KY.  Came back out late that year and went to Charlie Whittingham’s barn.  Charlie was the master.  Patient and careful  with all his stock.  He took this colt and he won the Kentucky Derby that next year. He won the Preakness Stakes two weeks later.  He finished second in the Belmont Stakes to Easy Goer.  That was in 1989, and his name was Sunday Silence.  Sunday went on to stud and moved to Japan, where he became the leading sire many years in a row.  Sadly  his life was cut short, (once again by laminitis) when he was 16 years old.  What a legacy he left behind though.


Sunday Silence winning the 1989 Kentucky Derby with Pat Valenzuela up.

One never knows how a breeding will turn out.  With regard to training, I have always heard this ” a trainer never dies who has new two year olds in his barn”.  There is always hope that the one in the barn will be “the” one for a person.  I will always love Thoroughbred racing,  and I hope I see it recover from the pit it has dug for itself.  Off track wagering, slots and the biggest concern, the state of the Thoroughbred itself.  Long gone are the iron horses who could carry weight and run through six or seven years.  They are now fragile and drugged still in some states.  I hope the industry can pull together and correct itself.  It was once the sport of kings, and now the only kings left are the horses themselves.

Greetings.  The nurse cat Belle informed me she needed some “out” time from the baby.  So, she traipsed around the laundry room, and then began to call for the baby.  So, back into the crate she went, and they both settled into breakfast number six or whatever……..that baby is doing fine.  I think this is the girl kitten, mixed up the markings the other day when in the “OMG orphaned kittens ! panic”.  I will try and get a photo later on.  I keep the crate dim for the baby, so it takes some set up to do.

Will go and do some investigating at a nearby ranch with my friend.  She owned a mare, who was bred, then told the mare was not in foal.  She took her home, and the mare dropped weight, and my friend took her back to that ranch, and it turned out she was in foal.  Duh on everyone there, my friend included.  She has known these people all her life, and I believe she trusts them too much.  Now that same mare has appeared on a website from a horse broker – already having gone through the meat sale, some horses are hand picked to be resold to soft hearted folks, which is good. Jacking up the prices in not though…….and there is a mare listed that looks suspiciously like my friend’s old mare.  She no longer has any ownership interest in her, but it is the fact that it MAY be that mare………and she was not given the chance to keep her safe or find her a home that is rankling her.  I don’t blame her at all.  It is a nightmare I have lived and will to the day I die of losing a beloved horse to slaughter.  Never goes away.  At any rate, if she will go this morning, great.  Mom and I are working on her deck – bought a few ornamental grasses yesterday and those need to be planted.  I took over a double hook that goes in the ground, to hang bird feeders on.  It will be nice – especially since we are on the track for her back surgery in mid May.

Ah, Buttercup the pet sheep is bellowing, must be time for breakfast.

More later perhaps, enjoy the day !

Yesterday we began with rain.   Which turned into slush, clumpy wet blobs coating everything.  Which turned into snow briefly…….then rain.  Gave it 5 minutes, then the sun was brightly shining.  Then I went out to the post office, which is a mile away.  Ok, now there is ground fog in patches.  Black asphalt roadway, and brilliant white blowingground fog.  It took me several minutes to go across the main highway, which is a busy road…….I had to wait for the fog and the vehicles to clear.  It looked so odd – made me wish I carried my 35 mm camera. Oh well. So, no photos, so I can just tell you it looked very surreal.  Then it did the same rain, snow, hail sunshine for the remainder of the day.  Gak. I have had ENOUGH of this.  I went to build a fire in the woodstove, and discovered that in my happiness that winter was gone, so was my three buckets of kindling, and then when I turned to the wood rack, saw that I had brilliantly not restocked it either.  After piecing together a fire, finally got the house warmed up just in time for bed. Aghh.

So, this morning, I wake up to sunlight streaming through the window.  Obviously it did freeze for a while, my birdbaths were coated with a pane of ice, already melting off at 6:45 am.

On Kona watch, she has not reappeared yet.  She looked to be in rough shape, and while I put food out for her, I have no way of knowing if she is the one consuming it.  As for the two kittens, I put them on a surrogate milk bar kitty.  I named her Belle and she took the kittens right away.  Sadly, one was not right last night, could not seem to maintain her body temperature and had passed during the night.  Belle called me very directly this am when I went past the laundry room to make my coffee.  I found the baby and took her out.  The sibling looks fine so far, very cute.  White tabby with little black smudges on his face.  I think it is a boy, I will check later and try and get a photo of him.

Off to do chores and then to the open house at the place I buy hay.  They have a number of greenhouses and sell wonderful plants.  They are having free refreshments (homemade donuts ?) and I may have to try one.

Enjoy the day all !

Today is one of those times that I want to say “stop the world, I want to get OFF”  The last few days have been terribly stressful,  thought I lost Kona the wild cat,  found two orphaned kittens, borrowed a nurse cat from the shelter who took to them and is caring for them, bless her little heart !  I bottle raised kittens last year and while I would have done it again,  I am so thankful to this cat “Belle” who is being terrific with them.  Whew.  DOUBLE whew !!!!!!!

Home has been upsetting and emotionally draining.  Wish I could chalk it all up to my son being a teenager, but there is more to it with him, but I can’t go there now.  It derailed my brain and I have yet to care enough to  go find it.  I like doing this blog and feel remiss not to have updated yesterday ……..

Raining today, on and off.  Sheep is yakking and have to go get hay, didn’t get a delivery and need to figure that out.

Be glad for the things that make your heart sing, hug those you love and enjoy the day.  I am going to try really hard to do just that.

The Swaps memorial at Hollywood Park… of many of his racing successes.

Racing in Callifornia is going down the tubes.  Sadly, once the casinos got the slots going,  and off track wagering got busy,  daily attendance dropped.  And dropped.  And dropped.  If it drops any lower, the only people there will be the folks who run horses and the concessions workers.  Well, almost.  It is sad to see.  Don’t get me going on the quality of today’s Thoroughbreds,  that is sad too.  In a brief nutshell,  back in the early 1970’s,  if a horse broke down,  he was done for.  If he broke a leg, it may have been casted, to try and save him or her.  Now, they try to rebuild the horses who break down, and BREED MORE OF THEM !  Now, just what is the thought process here ??  If a horse broke down,  it meant they were Not Sound.  They were given away if they didn’t die from the injury.  They did NOT find their way into the gene pool.  Not so any longer.  Broken horses are bred, and guess what ?  The babies they sire or foal BREAK DOWN !    There are accidents, and for that, yes, I would make an exception.  If it were a clear accident.  That is what happened to Barbaro – it began in my opinion when he broke through the starting gate for the Preakness Stakes.  Horses do that all the time,  and he should have been walked out for the vet.  He wasn’t though, he was reloaded and only managed 14  not quite correct strides before a catastrophic breakdown.  Years past, they would have brought the horse ambulance, dropped the screens and euthanized him on the track.  Not so for this courageous horse.  Here is a shot of his back leg, pre and post surgery.

The sad thing, (aside from the whole thing about this)  was that the horse had the attitude of an excellent patient.  What killed him was the horrid disease called Laminitis, which we know the cause of, but not how to stop it.  Lost lots of racings top horses when they were retired due to this…….Secretariat, Affirmed and of course poor Barbaro.  Dr.Richardson did an amazing job reconstructing that leg.  I suppose the horse might have been able to live longer but the films I saw of him walking when he was healing were very scary………poor boy !  To go from the suberb athlete he was to living from mid May to the following January like that.  He was an amazing horse, and he knew it.

They have a full sized statue in place at Churchill Downs, site of his Kentucky Derby triumph…….and his ashes will be interred there as well.  They are doing an official “unveiling” of the statue soon, and a lot of the “Friends of Barbaro” folks are going and meeting.  This horse affected people in ways not seen before.  Everyone had heard of him it seemed,  and I doubt that many were left unaffected by the horse and his struggle to live.  Because of him,  there have been millions of dollars raised and thousands of horses that were previously slaughter bound saved and rehomed.  Strides are being made to retrain or retire Thoroughbreds after their racing career is done.  It is a long process, in a lot of ways.  Now, Hollywood Park, the racing plant in Inglewood, California is in what is likely its final year.  There are plans in the works to raze the track and build homes and shopping.  To build a “shopping mecca” for the Southern California people.  I grew up outside of Los Angeles.  Folks, this is INGLEWOOD.  NO ONE GOES THERE EXCEPT FOR THE TRACK  !  It is in the heart of gangland, and they are delusional !  There is a horse owner who is launching a bid to save the track.  I fully support her, and went to her site and followed the link to sign the petition to save Hollywood Park.  If you have time, and are so inclined, perhaps you will do so too.  Here is her site,  There is a link the second item down to sign the online petition.  Thank you if you can do it.  We have already lost Bay Meadows in the bay area, and it just stands to get worse if HP goes too.

Hollywood Park was where I worked when I was a kid.  I met and chatted with a lot of the “celebs” there that were horse owners.  I could remember any horses pedigree (photographic memory) four generations back.  Made me an oddity, aside from the fact I am a girl.  Back then, women were not allowed in the barn area after dark.  Even owners, trainers or vets were banned after dark.  It was an interesting time to grow up, and in a wonderful place (well, once you got from the 405 freeway through Inglewood into the track that is). 

Enough , have to get to chores, enjoy the day !