Friday, August 31, 2012

Curious Calves

Driving past an Amish farm today, we saw two ponies tied to the fence outside of a pasture containing a number of calves. Amish often tie horses or ponies in this way to let them crop the grass that grows between the pasture and the road. What caught our attention today was the crowd of curious calves that had gathered to see what those ponies were doing on the "wrong" side of the fence. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Early Morning Fog

I rarely see a sunrise. They just come so early in the morning! But one recent morning, for whatever reason, I happened to be up when the sun was rising. I looked out the window and saw fog lying low on the horizon.

Then I went back to bed.

But I kept thinking about the photo opportunity I was missing. So I got up, got dressed, grabbed my camera, and walked across the road and to the back of the cemetery for an uncluttered view.

Belgian draft horses

Percheron draft horse

The soft glow of the sunrise and the low-lying fog, a soybean field and some Amish draft horses in the foreground...well, it was worth getting up for.

Thanks to Hilary at The Smitten Image for including this post as a Post of the Week.


Monday, August 27, 2012

A Few More Horses

It seems like another lifetime ago that I was so heavily involved with horses. Back then, they were my life. Everything I did revolved around the horses. Even now, they still hold a special place in my heart.

So I have one last set of pictures to share here. The first two posts featured my first horse, a Half-Arabian mare named Gayranna, and her offspring. Those posts can be viewed here and here.

Well, a couple of purebred Arabians were purchased during those years, as well. One was a gray filly named AJ Gwalima, which I purchased from my cousin-in-law, Anita. The letters, "AJ," are the initials of Anita's first and middle names. Her Arabian horse farm was called AJ Arabians, and those initials were included in the registered names of the foals produced by her mares.

AJ Gwalima

I purchased one other purebred Arabian mare, this one from the man in Florida who had purchased Serada and several other of Gayranna's offspring from me. She was a bay mare named Jessica Sunrise.

Jessica Sunrise

Jessica Sunrise

"Jessie" produced a lovely filly for me, sired by one of Anita's stallions, AJ Ramada.

Sunada (AJ Ramada x Jessica Sunrise)

And, finally, a few photos of a some of Gayranna's foals and glimpses of my sweet collie, Heather.

Sera Lee (Seranej x Gayranna)

Seradan (Seranej x Gayranna)

Seradan (Seranej x Gayranna)

I've been out of the horse "business" since the early eighties. You'd think I'd be over it by now, wouldn't you? But, to me, there's no creature more beautiful than a horse. Since I've been away from showing and breeding Arabians, I've developed an appreciation for virtually every breed of horse. They all have their good qualities.

I love the fact that the Amish who live around us have such a variety horses. Many of them are so beautiful that they could compete well in the show ring. We've lived here for 23 years, and I still run to the window when I hear a buggy or farm wagon passing by, feasting my eyes on the beautiful animals that are pulling the vehicle. 

If I haven't gotten over it by now, I don't think I ever will.

Friday, August 24, 2012

An Evening at Beaver Marsh

As I mentioned in my last post, we visited Beaver Marsh at Cuyahoga Valley National Park on the evening of August 16. Following are some more photos from that night.

Great Blue Heron doing what herons do

Same bird, having retired to a tree to take care of some grooming needs

Grooming complete, Mr. Heron poses in his tree.

Sunset at Beaver Marsh

Unfortunately, the shy beavers didn't come out until after sunset, which made it difficult to get a decent photograph. Here are my best efforts:



A last look at the sunset

As darkness began to fall and we were walking back to our vehicle, Doug spotted a hummingbird darting among some flowers along the boardwalk. This isn't the best hummingbird photo ever taken, but it's the best I've ever taken...because it's the first I've ever taken. So humor me, all right?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trains, Falls, Flowers, and Frogs

On August 16, the second full day of our visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we returned to Brandywine Falls to take the loop trail around the falls. The main reason we wanted to do that was that the park map had a picture of the falls that had been taken from the side opposite the overlook we had visited when we arrived on the night of August 14. So we thought the loop trail would give us alternate views of the falls. Not! The loop trail doesn't even go in sight of the falls, except for when it goes over the top; and there's no view from there. It was a long, hard, hot 45-minute walk, with no reward except bragging rights. 

Next, we visited Brecksville Station and were there when the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train came through. We didn't ride on this train, but it's very affordable and offers a unique way to experience the national park.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

When we had consulted the ranger the previous day, we had asked about Bridal Veil Falls. He said that he had been there recently and that there was no water going over the falls, so he didn't recommend that we waste our time going there. But we decided we wanted to see it anyway. The ranger was definitely right about the lack of water, but it was a very pretty area. And we could use our imaginations to create a very lovely waterfall in our minds.

This is a small waterfall (when there's water) just above the main Bridal Veil Falls.

This is the main Bridal Veil Falls, with just a bit of water going over it.

The ranger did, however, encourage us to go see Great Falls. We had a little trouble finding it, but a very sweet local lady, who we met in a smaller local park where she was walking her dog, got into her car and led us there. It was located in Viaduct Park, near the town of Bedford, Ohio.

Great Falls of Tinkers Creek

That evening, we went to Beaver Marsh, in hopes of seeing some beaver and other wildlife. I'll save most of the photos I took there for another post, but here are a few.

Bee on Yellow Flowers
Yellow Flower

Frog in Marsh

Different Frog on a Lily Pad

Monday, August 20, 2012

More from Cuyahoga Valley National Park

We had arrived at Cuyahoga Valley National Park on the evening of August 14th, and had done a little exploring at that time. But it was our first visit to this particular park, and we were having trouble understanding how it was laid out. So, on the morning of August 15th, we sought the guidance of a Park Ranger. He was very helpful, and we left the visitor center well armed with suggestions for things to do and see.

First on the list was a hike to a pretty little waterfall called Blue Hen Falls. It's been dry in that area, so this waterfall probably didn't have as much water going over it as usual; but it was still lovely.

Blue Hen Falls

The ranger had told us that there was another nice waterfall on up the trail from Blue Hen Falls, but the trail wasn't maintained by the Park Service; and the waterfall was on private property. Still, we tried to find it but gave up after walking across an almost dry riverbed. As dry as the river was, we figured there couldn't be much water going over the falls.

So we hiked back to our vehicle and did a driving tour, visiting some of the scenic areas. Here are a few pictures from that drive.

Duck on Horseshoe Pond
Bee on Pink Flowers Near Beaver Marsh

The ranger had recommend a hike on the scenic Ledges Trail, which we did late in the day. I had to use a flash on most of the photos I took on that trail. It was dark on the trail, because of the trees and rock walls of the area, even though it was still pretty bright outside of that location.

Stairs on Ledges Trail

Beetle on Ledges Trail

Tree Growing from Rock on Ledges Trail

This national park was different than most others we've visited, but it was perfect for our little three-day anniversary getaway. It's a hiker's and biker's paradise, with trails everywhere, even in smaller parks outside of the national park.

I'll have one or two more sets of pictures to share with you in future posts. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Anniversary Get-Away

In celebration of our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Doug and I decided to take a quick trip to our neighboring state of Ohio and visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park. As close as we live to it, we'd never been there. 

It was late in the day when we reached the park, but that's often a great time for photography.

We hadn't had time to do much exploring and were still not quite sure how this national park was laid out. But these major highways appeared to go right through it. In the late-day sunlight, the highways and the reflection in the water made a pretty picture.

Again, the late-day sun brought out the richness of the wood in this old barn.

Isn't this guy a beauty?

This isn't a great picture of Brandywine Falls, but it lends perspective to show the size of the waterfall.

Brandywine Falls

The trail to Brandywine Falls isn't long, but it involves a steep descent down these wooden steps.

This is the trail to Brandywine Falls, taken on our way back to the parking lot, walking toward the setting sun.

Twenty-five years! When we married at the ages of 42 and 44, we didn't even think we'd live this long!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Have Some Funny Friends

We met some friends for Sunday lunch after church today. As we sat around the table, catching up on each others' news, one friend asked if we had gotten used to our no-longer-sunken living room yet, recalling the blog post where I told of some of the falls we experienced during the learning curve.

Then our friend told this story about another couple that she and her husband know:

One night, the husband noticed that several flying insects had somehow gotten into the house and were congregating around the ceiling light in the kitchen. The husband grabbed a can of insecticide and aimed it up toward the ceiling light. Mission accomplished. Sometime later, the wife entered the kitchen. The residue of the insect spray had fallen to the kitchen floor, creating an incredibly slick spot in the middle of the kitchen. When the wife hit that spot, her feet flew out from under her; and she landed with a thud.
Her husband came running into the kitchen, looked at his wife on the floor, and said, "What are you doing down there? Get up quick. I think a truck just hit the house!"

Sunday night, we went out with another group of friends following the evening Bible study. One of the ladies told us that, after she and her husband had spent a day with their grandchildren, the grandchildren reported to their mother that Grandma had called Grandpa a bad name. Surprised, the mother asked what the name was. The grandchildren said they couldn't remember but that it had something to do with a washing machine. The mother correctly guessed "Agitator."

Grandpa's new nickname among the friends who heard the story is now "Maytag."

Friday, August 10, 2012

More Horses, Horses, Horses

Almost two years ago, shortly after I began this blog, I did a post about my first horse, Gayranna, and the offspring she produced from being bred to the Arabian stallion, Seranej. You can find that post here. At the time, I hadn't been able to find a picture of Seramac, one of Gayranna's foals by Seranej. In going through some old photos recently, I found some pictures of Seramac, as well as some other photos worthy of sharing. So here is another horse post. (One every two years isn't so bad, now, is it?)

Gayranna (pronounced Gare-Anna) was Half-Arabian and Half-Thoroughbred, so her foals were three quarters Arabian.

Seramac, as a Yearling in 1972

Gayranna and Heather

In spite of the obvious fading of the photograph, I liked the above unposed picture of Gayranna, with my collie, Heather, in the foreground.

Gayranna was 10 years old and in foal to an Arabian stallion named Raffdaan when I bought her and moved her from California to Indiana in 1967. The resulting foal was a lovely filly which I named Raffdanna.

Raffdanna, as a Yearling in 1968

From then on, Gayranna was bred exclusively to Seranej. Serada was the first from that match and won multiple national championships. He was featured in the earlier post, but I couldn't resist including him in this one, too.

Serada with Trainer, Buck Grass

The above photo was taken by a professional photographer during a photo shoot for The Arabian Horse Journal, a magazine which featured Serada on the cover of its July, 1977, issue.

Serada was shown in Halter, English Pleasure, Western Pleasure, and Driving classes and did well in all of them.

Serada in Driving Class at 1976 Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky

My previous horse post included a picture of LaStrada as a foal. Here is one of him as a yearling, after he was purchased by the same man who had purchased Serada and most of the others over the years. LaStrada was to be the last in that line of foals, as Gayranna was 22 years old by the time he was born in 1979. 

LaStrada, as a Yearling in 1980

LaStrada, as a Two-Year-Old in 1981

In the above picture from 1981, LaStrada, as a two-year-old, was being shown in halter at a show in Ocala, Florida, where he was named Grand Champion Half-Arabian Gelding. I lost track of LaStrada and his owner shortly after that and don't know how the rest of his show career went. But I can't help believing that he did well. He had certainly grown into a beautiful animal by the age of two.

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