Saturday, January 28, 2012

Guest appearance

For the past few days, Barnard has wandered up close to the house in the morning when Ulani goes out.  She gives Ulani the leg rub and enthusiastic purring, but when I open the door for Ulani to come inside, Barnard runs back to the barn.

Until this morning!

This morning when I opened the door Ulani hung back and Ms. Barnard trotted right up the steps and into the house, pretty as you please!  Ulani, puzzled, needed to be reminded to come in herself.

Once inside, Barn' stood by the door and peered into the vast expanse which is the living room, feeling the warm, heated air caress her back.  Her toes relaxed into the dry, warm, woven cotton rug while she breathed deeply the smell of "no chickens in here"!

Then Luke came on the scene.  Paradise lost.

Luke hissed.  Barnard smacked him.  They took opposite corners of the dining table and hunkered down.  This was too much action for Ulani, who quickly entered to restore order and respect.  Or maybe she just told them to hold on a minute until she got her bet placed.

When I once again opened the back door, Barnard made like a banana and split for her home turf.

But I hope she'll be back!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Birthday kisses!

Yes, it's my birthday and I am not shy about it.  My close friends know I love to celebrate another year's passing and if it means stretching out the birthday visits over weeks, that's all good.

Regular visitors to Life at Busy Solitude Farm know I try to celebrate here, too.  Just last year every member of the BSF gang was featured.  And in 2010, Oskar and Ulani brought me a special present.  2009 had a revealing post!  I guess in 2008 I wasn't yet really mentioning myself much in my posts, but I always liked this post, so let's call it my 2008 birthday post!

Of course birthdays do bring some reflection, and I think all of you know that so many of the BSF friends seen in these past posts are no longer with us.  So a moment of reflection on their happy lives here, and how much they meant to me.


And now, the 2012 celebrating gets under way!  I hope that each and every reader will take a moment today to think about all of the great things we have in our lives -- friends, health, laughter.  Do that, and it will the best gift I could imagine.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Squirrel is Grounded

The jig is up.  I ruined it.  No more backyard fun.

Not until the wind blows the flying squirrel down!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pet portrait

I want to share with you this painting of Oskar and Ulani by Josephine Aurora Burck.  Also known as Josie, this brilliant artist works from photographs, capturing the essence of a pet's spirit with her brush strokes on canvas.

Did I also mention that Josie is Farm Girl Beth's youngest daughter?  Or that she is eleven years old?

Josie, like many young women her age, has gone a bit horse crazy.  And in order to lease a horse for the summer, she needs to generate some income.  Luckily for her, she has great talent! 

I love how Josie captured the light on Oskar and Ulani's hair with just a few bold strokes, adding a lively tan across Ulani's muzzle for texture and depth.  The delicate gray hairs around Oskar's nose, and the dark shadow where his fall covers his eyes.

And how about the beautiful light periwinkle of the background?  What a choice!

I've been missing Oskar, but having this portrait in my living room helps me to remember him and keep him near.  Thanks for the good work, Josie!

Note, Josie wrote a post about her technique for the Briard hair -- check it out!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Wolf Moon Brings...

The Wolf Moon of January has been particularly brilliant the past few days.  I've been catching it on the descent when I go to the barn in the morning.

Today I stood closer to the back fence to try a different angle.  And in the silence of the dark morning I heard something move in the brush.

This is the unretouched photo I took aimed at the burn pile.  Can't tell much from that!  So I hit the "enhance" button, and more detail was revealed.
Now I've got something to work with.  So I started to look around the photo.  You can see the pile of brush waiting to be burned on the left-hand side.  And the first clear tree trunk just left of center.  Is that something on the lens, floating above the pile?

That's no speck!  That looks like a pair of glowing eyes!!!

My guess is possum, though I'm open to other interpretations.  I love my new camera!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


A very windy day with falling temperatures, in advance of the threat of lake effect snow.

But we're bundled up warm inside.  A pot of red beans is on the stove; later on I'll make rice.  Ulani, Luke and I are safe and sound.  Barnard came over to the door earlier to say hello.  I expect she's sleeping in her bed of straw in the dog crate, the coos and clucks of the birds her own lullaby.

And so a new year begins at Busy Solitude Farm.

Happy new year!