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Friday, 30 June 2017

Horses I've loved: Uggy

I know, I know, it's a terrible name for a horse.  There was a car at the stables at the time I bought him that was called Ugy because of its number-plate, and basically Uggy became Uggy Two the first day I brought him home, named by my stable mates. He was far from conventionally beautiful, I will admit.

He cost me $50 straight out out of a paddock and I rode him home bareback.  Turns out he had a local reputation for being a bolter, but he only did that with me a couple of times in the years I had him, and in those days I knew no fear, so what the heck.

I loved him to bits, but he wasn't a great purchase in that he pretty much ended my pony club years.  He could and would jump anything, but put him in a showjumping ring and he'd stop at the gate and nothing you did could get him past it. These pics are of my one and only showjumping round with him, BEFORE we got to the gate!

I was eliminated, but the jump judge did say it was nice to see that horse in good condition for a change, so goodness knows what he'd looked like at times before I got him. He had a very distinguishing paint marking on his near side neck, so he'd have been easy to recognise.

That's him looking perky and happy after I'd had him for a while.  He was never much in the conformation stakes, but he and I traveled for miles and miles, him skittering along with his odd running walk that ate the distances, and we'd jump any log we came to, and at times also gates if we couldn't be bothered stopping to open them. 

That's me looking teenage and sulky.  An old owner had turned up to visit him and asked to put this incredibly harsh bit on him that she'd used to use. I was not impressed.  Gods, I could be a snotty little cow in those days.  Guess everyone is at that age sometimes.  Hope so! 

He really could jump and it was interesting that some time after I got him, a man I met somewhere, can't even remember where, recognised Uggy and gave me this photo. He told me he'd seen Uggy jump a car bonnet.  Poor Uggy, he looked so scrawny and miserable in the pic.  I'm glad I got to have him in his old age.

He had this utterly bizarre condition where he had an open pocket inside his lip, sort of a hole that went into a gap between layers of muscle and skin, that collected food in it.  I had to clean it out every day or it went smelly and horrible, and it was hard to get to it all because you couldn't get your finger in there far enough!  Erk! The things we do for our horses!  :D

In the end we got a vet to come out and he had to cut from the outside and pull all this crappy rotten feed out then sew up both the hole on the inside and the cut he'd made.  Erk!  Wish I'd been sedated like Uggy was!  It seemed to fix the issue after that, but he always had a slightly lower lip on that side.

I think he became happy with me.  He would do this thing where I would softly stroke his neck over and over and he would turn his head and just look at me with his old-horse eyes and we would be so peaceful together.  

 He was 19 when I bought him, and I'm not sure how long I had him.  It was a messy time for me, involving finishing high school, starting and dropping out of uni, and rumbling about doing this and that, and at times I would put him out in paddocks while I worked riding racehorses or whatever.

I can never decide if I failed him at the end or not.  He was in a great paddock and looked so happy every time I went to see him. I was busy being Miss Independent on shitty wages and living in weird share houses.  I think I forgot to pay some of his agistment, I'm not sure now. Anyway I got a phone call to say that he was doing such a great job babysitting the owners' weanlings and they wanted to keep him, and I said yes.  This is the last photo I have of him, taken at that last agistment place. I hope he looked this happy to the end of his days.  He deserved it.



Monday, 26 June 2017

A Tale of Two Redheads

"Cuddle me Cyrano!"

"No, for it was not my idea and is therefore anathema to me!"

"Instead I will pose on this rickety table on top of your art and you may admire me in all my glory!"

"Yep, ok, we all know how cats roll.  You are indeed magnificent, oh Mister Cyrano Fitty Kitty de Purrrrgerac!"

"Can we get back to drawing now?"

"If you must, but personally I think you should be drawing me!"


Thursday, 22 June 2017


Well it finally rained here, to help us welcome in the Winter Solstice in the correct spirit.  The walks this week have been lovely.

I love the slanting, golden light of the Western Australian winter.

Cheeky dogs!  Have no idea what they had seen or sniffed.  Roos or Quendas, I'm guessing.  Blimey they took off after some big grey roos this morning in the forest and I thought they'd get lost, but luckily the roos went so fast that the dogs gave up quickly.  It is good to have middle-aged dogs!

This was the neighbour's place yesterday afternoon.   The pecans go this amazing yellow as they finally lose their leaves, and they catch that winter light so well.
I've been crocheting the latest afghan in the evenings.  It's looking good.  Very warm and earthy.  Mr Kitty was sitting by me waiting for a chance to get onto my lap, and he was placed so that I kept pulling out extra yarn and putting it over his ear by accident.  Apparently he didn't mind, because he let it stay there each time.

At lunchtime, I've been enjoying reading this book by fellow Aussie Druid, Julie Brett.

It was a great little read and full of good ideas, looking at Druidry as a form of spirituality that could be applied to people of any religion, or none.   If you ever wondered how to connect better to where you live, I recommend it.

It's an eternal question for white Aussies, of how to walk that fine line between appreciating the history and traditions of the the lands of our ancestors, and finding ways to the connect to our new lands, all while being sensitive to those who were here before we came.   I think Julie and her friends have found a very good way to work within all of these concerns, and that what they have learned would certainly apply to other countries as well.

I will certainly be using some of what she teaches in my own practice, and I can't wait to try out some of the group activities when we next get some Druid-minded people together, which will be very soon!

What else?  Hmmm, well, the week has been very "Gimpy," with me working feverishly on five of my older novels to get the cover spines looking snazzier.   This is how Land of Fire looks now.  It is not quite as good as the more recent designs that go right across the cover, but I think a smaller version of the picture off the front cover, plus a nicer font, should be enough to tweak the imagination of anyone seeing the spine in a row of books.      

I hope so, anyway.  And now it is back to working on my author portal site.  Phew, getting back to writing will seem like a breeze by comparison!  Ghost is calling to me.  He wants a new story.  I want him to have a new story too.     



Monday, 19 June 2017

So Lucky.

Lovely weather, lovely family, lovely friends.  It was that kind of weekend.

Saturday schedules at the brigade involved a bit of this: 

Then we came home and set ourselves up with lots of this:

How I love a nice stack of dry firewood!  Some of that is gnarly bits that wouldn't split, now cut up with the chainsaw.  While Andrew was doing that. I was adding to these:

The tarped one is being kept dry ready for our druidy rowdy yule.  Our wickerman will go up on top if we can work out how to get him up there.  The other bonfire is waiting a few more weeks for some friends to come visiting.  Winter up here is amazing, and even better when you are sitting around a bonfire with warm soup and friendly chat.

We have an awful lot of lucerne trees that have fallen over this year or otherwise turned up their toes and it makes nasty firewood inside, so on the bonfire it goes.

Saturday night we went to Gogs and Thor's house and played Exploding kitten and Cards Against Humanity.   Exploding Kitten is my favorite of the two. I like the whimsy of it.  My fave card of the night:

No definitely not a version for kids, though I hear there is one!

I started my bro-in-law's afghan, too.  Again.  Yes it know, the original centre squares were all multi-brown but I decided to frog it and start again.  I like this better. 

Sunday I took my books along to a local gift store and am very happy that the owner decided to stock them, all of them!  However, first I want to update the spines on the cover so that my earliest works match my more recent ones.  There are, I think, five that need work.  So, my website design goes on hold while I do that and get the books ordered and on the way.  It will be a good first step to getting some more local recognition.

It's easy to see which ones need an update.  They're the boring ones!  I won't be able to get them quite as eyecatching, because my more recent ones have had the design go right across the cover, but I can at least make the font more interesting.

"Dog Slobber" isn't there.  I lent my proof copy to the store owner to read, because it was the one that caught her eye first.  I'm sure she'll enjoy it!

Today my youngest niece, Niamh, and I had fun playing ukulele together and writing a song, once more hunting out the patches of sun that we could find here on our shady land, laughing and chatting and singing while chooks scratched around our feet and the two Labradors kept watch.  It's lovely to have the energy these days to be able to help foster creativity in the next generation.   A truly Druidy thing to be doing!    



Friday, 16 June 2017

Beanies All Round!

It's the year of the beanie around here.

Nearly everyone's getting one whether they asked for one or not.  

Left to right, those are mum's, Jenny's and Uncle Greg's beanies.  Apparently Greggy has barely taken his off since he got it, but I think mum thinks hers is a bit too "Where's Wally". :D

Jen loves her though.

It really brings out her beautiful blue eyes.  (And just happens to match her gorgeous new jacket.)

And I finished the matching pointy beanie for Andrew's work mate Gary.  He tells me he loves it too.  They'll have to make them part of the uniform.   

 As for me, this is my new head gear for part of the day at the moment.  Just during screaming preschooler time at the school across the road. I'm told that parents know the difference but I'm not a parent, or perhaps it is the exact correct distance for all screams to sound the same, but in either case, it goes right to my lizard brain. With my chainsaw ear guards on, I go from nails-on-a-blackboard twitchy to sleepy-peaceful in a few minutes.  Ahhhh!

Obviously if I worked out of the home I would not be here to be bothered. Everything in this life is a mixed blessing.  These are better than drowning out the noise with more noise.  Quiet head space is important.

Cripes, think it is time to tidy my workspace!  I'm lucky I'm one of those creatives who works best in a mess!

And then there is always the peacefulness of our daily walks in the forest.  As you can see, winter is darkening the woods now.

May the weekend bring you quiet times and forest bathing and all good things.           


Monday, 12 June 2017

Pony time

I had pony time on the weekend with my fave little dude, Jerry (also known as Pegasus to himself.)

He is so woolly ready for winter, though the actual depth of his coat is only possible to understand if you feel under there.

As Andyroo and I would say, "Woolly!"  I don't know, where do couples get these silly shared sayings?  :D

This week I am practicing being Exuberant, even on my fridge!

I came across this quote in my journal from Dr Estes' book, "Women Who Run With the Wolves. "

It goes so closely with things my sis and I are reading and listening to recently, and have discussed, about how you need space to be yourself, to find your creative spark, to truly rest.  Social media and mobile phones are stealing that space away from us.  They aren't all bad, of course, but you need to be strong enough to limit yourself.

May you find the strength this week to give yourself space.

Or, if you really can't get away, that you at least find time to switch off the electronica, to get under a ruggie or into a blanket fort, and snuggle until you are all better.  


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Smoky Skies, Good Dogs and Chocolate Ripple.

The sky to the east the other night. 

The sky to the west at the same time.

 Why we are getting so much colour in our dawns and sunsets just now.

A lot of hazard reduction burning going on because we have still not had any rain so conditions are perfect.  This was ours on Tuesday.  That's Pierre out there, also known to me as Thor, even when he isn't looking as mythical as that.

Some amazing sights of smoke with the sun filtering through.

I got these while standing on a private property with a Light Tanker, making sure I was ready to put out any ember that hopped the fence and tried to set those pine trees alight.  There wasn't a single one though. It was all very controlled, as it should be.   Ben is in there somewhere.

A nice 'cool' fire.  Not too many small beasties hurt and certainly none of the big animals, birds or trees will mind this sort of burn.

After I left the fireground, I popped round to let our Lt's dog, Harley, out for a wee and give him his lunch.  We walked up their block and had a sit at the top.  Harley is such a nice person, despite his hard start to life.

Is there anything better than sitting admiring a vista with a good dog leaning against you?  I think not!

Niamh's afghan is finished!  All ends woven in and washed soft, all ready to go to its new owner.

And the new one is begun.  I still haven't worked out how best to get the shape and the pattern I want, but I do know that this variegated brown and cream yarn makes me keep craving chocolate ripple ice-cream, or maybe vanilla ice-cream with chocolate sauce mixed through, a variation of what, in my family, we call Secret Food of the Gumbas.  We get that from my Uncle Greggie, who used to bug my mum with mixing his food to make Secret Food of the Gumbas when he was little.    Yum yum!  Chocolatey good!