Be Free

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Launching Rely

Last spring, with the wedding pending, I offered to sell Rely to the folks who seemed most likely to make the best use of him. At that time they were strapped financially and couldn't manage the purchase. So, I took that as the LORD's permission to keep him, at least for a while. My motivation had been financial and the LORD had provided another way (by selling off most of our cows). Then, last fall, because I'd already begun to think of not having him, and I'd partially processed the possibility, I posted an ad for him online. I made it as clear as I could that my motive for offering him was to allow him to realize his potential. I got four responses. Three were not reading closely what I'd said. I quickly dispensed with those. But, the fourth sounded more like what I'd envisioned. I sent a lengthy response to that inquiry; honestly describing his every shortcoming as well as his strengths and never got an answer. So, again, I took that as confirmation I could keep him. Other things began to seem right for him staying with us. The ad expired. I went on with plans to at least keep the dust off him. Then last week, the first folks I mentioned, came back and asked if I still wanted to sell him. I wanted to say, not really. But, decided that I needed to revisit the idea. I did that, and prayed for direction. So, Sunday afternoon we took him to their place to give them a few weeks to see if he'll fit their plans. And I'm glad I was able to tell them everything negative I could think of to try to dissuade them. He likes them and he likes it there so it isn't hard for me to let them have him for the trial period. The harder thing will be if they decide they do want him. For good. Rely has been like a son to me. I told Kevin that I can't think of selling him; rather, I'm trying to think of allowing him to go forth into the world to make his mark. To fulfill his destiny. I do think he has far too much ability and potential to be standing around our place switching flies and watching horse trailers going to and fro to someplace. This is probably as close to watching your child graduate and move out as I'm going to get !

So go ahead, Rely! Strut your stuff! Show your suspension. Prove your impulsion!

You know, gelding him didn't take anything at all away from his movement! Often I wonder what all we might have done with him if we'd gelded him sooner. But, because we didn't, unlike most people who sell their best horse, we still have a good part of him left with us. In his daughter: On Grace Rely!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January for sure!

It's January 2010! Are there others who find that hard to believe!? We're into another decade. We just had a record-breaking freeze hereabouts. It is more than I can do to process it all, so, I'm mostly letting some images speak. I've been blogging here a year now. I've gotten the hang of posting images with captions finally!

Now this first pic could be about a variety of things. Sheep Blues! What I set it up to express is my dilemma as "step-grandma" as the flock keeps growing! We've got two new ones due this year!

Here's something strange. Kevin found many of these down by the pond. We both studied the pictures and still aren't sure what caused them, but they are frozen spirals of ice at the base of some weeds. The ice is so white! Not clear.
We had some pipes break in the barn. After fixing them, Kevin built a fire in the woodstove and it actually heated the barn for almost 24 hours! We both visited it on and off as we went about our chores. We miss having the woodstove in our living space. Someday Kevin hopes to enclose our front porch and put in a woodstove. For now, we have to go "next door" to enjoy it.

Our old shower curtain and two bales of hay were commissioned to help protect the pipes. The penguins seemed so appropriate! I remind myself of March of the Penguins whenever I think I'm chilly; it provides instant perspective on reality.
The horses were grateful to have some choice as to whether to weather the chill under shelter or by soaking up what sun broke through.

Because water lines to the cows broke, Kevin had to haul them water.
Although we had no snow to show how cold it was, you can get a clue from Kevin's garb and posture.
Others around us tried various ways to keep their pipes from bursting. This was very pretty but the footing was treacherous.
Here's our Rosa grateful to get some relatively warm water (50 degrees instead of 33).
It took about an hour to dribble out by gravity. Kevin didn't want to use a hose (those were all frozen.)
The dogs curled up in the sun.
The horses napped.

Our lower pond had a thin layer of ice almost totally across it.
Ducks from the day before.
The trough under the North side spigot. Not sure why the ice was wavy? The thicker side was next to the barn.
We didn't stay out with this little firepit long. Did give it a try.
Lucy was a bit distressed by the cold drink.
She watched Dillon and saw that it was at least possible.
Icy dew.
Grace with sunshine on her shoulders.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sixteen days to "catch up"!

I was to have sixteen straight days off over the Christmas break. I thought I could surely catch up with photos in that much time! Alas, it was not to be. Roughly, I thought I'd divvy up the days as follows: 1 day to process photos for someone who had asked us to do a family group shoot for them on Dec 21. Two to three days to finish up the wedding photos so they could be hand delivered to all concerned when they gathered together in early January. The rest of the time to work on back orders for folks. That seemed do-able. Reasonable.

The first two days I just did the usual chores we do every weekend. No photos were dealt with that first weekend. Instead I was trying to help poor Kevin prepare for the next week when he'd have to work and I wouldn't. Monday, I came into Austin with him, dropped him at work and went down to Lady Bird Lake. I parked under the Mopac bridge and walked onto the bridge just as the sun was peeking over the horizon. There was steam rising off the lake. The scene was breathtaking. I spent an hour taking photos and got some of my best artistic shots ever! I told myself that I was NOT to work on them, though, until I had unclogged the logjamb of unprocessed images. So, as tempting as it was to get to them, I left them as a carrot dangling out in front of me. That evening Kevin and I took our portable light equipment and two cameras to the residence in Round Rock where the family we were to photograph was awaiting us. They were not yet dressed for the occasion and they had not eaten. We swiftly ascertained that the children involved (there were five of them) were not going to cooperate until they'd eaten. So, stomachs were attended to while we moved furniture and set up the lights. We both concluded afterwards that we do not want to go into group photography! Whereas we got gobs of great shots of individual children and two or three subjects at a time, getting THE PIC of all of them together was almost too much for us! Three hours after arriving we had what we hoped would be enough to build a composite group photo. Initially, I had hoped we would take the photos there, download them to my laptop and then burn a cd right then to give them. Between us we took about 400 photos in less than an hour. I had forgotten how slowly my laptop downloads! After about 15 minutes of waiting on it, we decided we'd just get a cd to her the next day. The next day and the day after I spent processing those photos. Except for the big group shot they didn't need much, but I am compulsive and wanted them to be right!

Here are a couple from that shoot. They imported some baby ducks! I'd love to post the finished group composite, but since I don't have model releases, guess I'd better not. It is quite amusing, though. No two people were looking in the same direction. Nobody in the picture posed. It looks like a frozen moment of family chaos.

But, these two are favorites of mine.

So, three more days gone. Now there were 11 days left. On Christmas eve we spent the whole day (pretty much) shopping since Kevin had it off and we could go do it together. Christmas we went to my sister's house and celebrated with family. Her house is always like wonderland to me! There are so many beautiful decorations. As for getting folks to stand together for a group shot, even if it hadn't been for the difficulty we'd had achieving this a couple of days before, I'd have despaired of such an endeavor. Many years of trying have taught me my limitations. We didn't even attempt to herd the cats together this time. I took about 150 photos there. I haven't even looked at them all yet! I downloaded them and went on to the next day's activity. Here are three of those. For those who want to see more, go to the family section on our photo site.

On the day after Christmas we hauled Buck and Ellie over to a friend's place for a little trailride. I only took about eight (8)!! photos there. I had my hands full trying to hold Ellie back. I left the camera in the truck. See three from the eight lower in this post. Ellie has finally proven that she has a tree phobia! Every time we get near them she starts to have a panic attack. I managed to keep her from taking flight, but just barely. So, no photos of her (although she did successfully complete half of the ride). Instead, there are photos of Kevin and son and then of our host and said son lookin' chapped. Or chinked.

Then, I began to work to finish the wedding photos. My goal was to get them on a transfer device to be hand delivered to Virginia. My deadline was Dec 27. I spent two full days and thought I'd mostly managed it. Did put 3.6 GB on a thumb. Knew there were a few strays but figured I'd round them up before sending off the DVDs with sets of photos on them to family. Estimated it'd take a few more hours to corral them.

Wrong again. The truth is that I worked FOUR more days on them and ended up with 4.8 GBs total. Here are a few of the strays. Wouldn't have wanted to leave them in limbo on my hard drive! I also did some serious photoshopping on a few. One member of the Margason clan had complained about being made to kneel in the group photo. So, if you'll look closely you'll see that he was allowed to stand as he wished!

Took some shots at the blue moon. The night shots were on the 31st; the daybreak shots were on New Year's day. It was frosty and foggy and worth getting up for!

Kevin and I wanted to ride Ellie again with a new set of reins and a curb chain. So, we called our new neighbor to come ride with us and saddled up. Our new neighbor has gotten Buck's respect. He minds her well!

Since Buck was behaving for our guest; Kevin agreed to ride Ellie. This was his second time on her and all went well. Note the mud from her knees down. Before grooming she was coated thus from ears to toes.

Kevin took the camera from me and didn't look at the settings (which were still set for moonshots). So, the first few pics were blown badly. But, I kind of like 'em this way. De-emphasizes the rider and shows Ellie in a better light.

Here are the pics from our trailride. That bay isn't ours. She was leant. Her name was Gal and she was a doll.

One thing I just never get to do in my work week is photograph at the optimum hours. My first day "off" I dropped poor Kevin at work (he didn't have it off) and went down to Lady Bird Lake to see what I could see. It was foggy and the sun was just rising. WOW!

Before I end this post, here's the greeting card we settled on. Those who look closely at details may notice that in this photo, Ellie does not have her mohawk bridlepath. Well, sometimes I trim our horses in photoshop (it is much easier than doing it in reality). I haven't yet decided whether I want to sheer her lovely locks. But, it does make her look more exotic having the upstanding hair on her crest. This card did not get mailed to anyone. So if you didn't get one, you are not alone. We handed out some. Will send it electronically.

In summary, with two weeks off and three weekends, and 16 days straight to "catch up", I got less than half of my list done! Still, I am grateful to have had the time, energy and health to accomplish as much as I did! The big thing was time spent with family, friends and each other: caroling, worshiping, sleeping in, shopping, feasting and cuddling. Somethings just can't be done on the computer!

Please do come visit our blog here during this coming year 2010. I've been writing to this blog for a year now. There are fifty or more folks I want to correspond with and just don't have time! So, this is how I try to share with you what the LORD is up to in our ken. May we see Him and hear Him and rejoice together, Amen Lynn & Kevin