Wednesday, July 29, 2015

At the Fair

The Leavenworth County Fair 2015 started yesterday, and I ran out there 
to do some picture-taking on opening night.  I skipped the parade
through Tonganoxie, 
and went straight to the fairgrounds.  I guess I should also say it was 97 degrees, and a 
"real feel" of 106. 

There was quite a crowd for opening night. 

There were beautiful cattle...

And naughty goats... 

No chickens. 

We are still under the stop-movement because of H2N5. 

There was a plane buzzing the grounds. 

And thrill rides (I will never ride this thing) 

But I was there for one thing and one thing only... the draft horse pull. 

Problem was, it didn't begin until 8 PM.  I was alone.  I don't like to drive in the dark, so ...
I made the best of my time. 

There were seven teams... none were from the immediate area.  Two were from Villisca, Iowa (Home of the Villisca Ax Murder House (see link here) ... and the others were from various 
places all around the state of Kansas.  You could tell the horses were all loved. 

This young man was a college student, but works on the farm with his dad. 

This man rode in on his hook. 

Then, they got down to business. 

The driver... the man in the yellow shirt... was backing his team up to the sled.  There was 
a thousand pounds on it.  The other two men were the hookers... okay, I may have forgotten 
what they are called technically... but they hook the harness to the sled so the horses can 
pull.  This has to be done in a matter of seconds.  My first husband hooked for a friend of his, and 
he knew men who had lost their fingers because of getting caught. 

They work fast, because the team is ready to take off! 

The first pull was a thousand pounds. 

Once they pulled their specified pull... I think it's ten feet.... they are pulled up, and the next team is brought in.  This goes on, over and over, until the teams start falling out from the weight. 

Round two was starting here. 

There was one female driver... but she had a long knee brace on, and her helpers walked the team over to the sled and hooked it for her, though she drove them. 

This team was called Barney and Ben.  When I was a little girl, 
I was regaled with stories of Barney and Benny, with whom my Uncle Marcus 
farmed.  My brothers knew them well, but by the time I could run around the 
farm, Barney and Benny had been forsaken for tractors.  One of my fondest memories 
was sitting in their big stalls, imagining what they looked and sounded like. 
When this team's names were announced, it took me back. 

All the teams had "plain" names... Tom and Jerry, Joe and Pete, etc. etc.. 

I was losing the light at this point... and had to get started for home, but 
I really enjoyed my night at the fair. 

Good bye, Worlds Smallest Horse. 

Goodbye, scary rides. 

Goodbye, Fair Food. 

See you all next year! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lots of Pictures Post

I try to take treats to the hens daily. 

The red hens, for the most part, trust that I am not going to kill them when I feed and water... and you can see they are finally feathering in. 

I don't think, though, that they were really 18 months old... I get so few 
eggs from them.  Four or five on a given day is a lot for this bunch. 

The shady henyard is really helping them... when we first had chickens, we actually had to build a covered area for them to stay cool. Now it's so overgrown that it stays shady and cool.  The only hen panting in today's 98 degree heat was the silver Brahma on the left. I have a big fan running in the henhouse to keep them cool at night. 

Guess what?  I let him have one. 

This has been the year for squirrels...

And bunnies in the road. 

The Kansas City Star actually did an article over the weekend about the abundance of rabbits this year, attributed to the plentiful water and food.  I have seen scores on the road... like this one. 
It also gave suggestions on how to dispose of them.  My philosophy has always been live and let live, and plant enough for the bunnies and squirrels, too. 

As I drove home after church yesterday morning, I saw these guys hanging on a bale of hay. 

And these guys hanging on the barn next to them. 

And this guy coming in to join them with a big bird behind him... 

They had some friends waiting out in the pasture for them. 

But there were some other visitors in the pasture, too. 

Can you see them? 

Here are they are, a little closer. 

I think it's the two baby hawks from the big nest that I watched all during the spring! 

Remember, Mom and Dad feed them for up to a year, or perhaps longer. 

I suspect they were sitting there, waiting for lunch to be dropped down to them.  

I can't guarantee it was the juveniles, but it sure looked like them from a distance. 

I'll be keeping my eye out for them, now that I know they are moving around. 
The bales were all picked up today, so I'll be watching the fenceposts. 

This beautiful weed is not Marsh Fleabane (it's not in a marsh, Mary Ann) but 
Ironweed.  I love it, and hope to gather some of the seeds as soon as they set.
I'll plant them near my little pond in the side yard. 

Thank you, Anonymous commenter, because you set me straight on this plant, and I suspect 
it was you who identified the cotton rat in our side yard.  I appreciate it. 

This little woodpecker (girl) is loving the suet at the old house, and I'm loving taking their pictures again. 

Hot for the next day or so, and then we'll have some rain.  Jacob will be coming to help again tomorrow morning... thank heavens.  He's strong and young, just what we need! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Cowboy Parade

I ran down to Tonganoxie with the dogs yesterday morning to drop 
some things off at the Good Shepherd.  
Imagine my surprise when I saw people unloading horses from trailers! 
I am out of touch with doings there, obviously, because I asked at 
the thrift store/pantry and was told it was Cowboy Day in Tongie! 

There were cowGIRLS, too. 

The Fort Reilly (Kansas) Mounted Color Guard led the short parade. 

They had beautifully matched bays. 

When they stepped off, the parade was ready to roll. 

The dogs were so patient with me... it was about 80 degrees, but they had to sit in the 
car and wait for me (I was standing next to the car) for 20 minutes.  

The Color Guard stopped after about 100 feet. 

Look whom they were waiting to fall in behind them!  The Buffalo Soldiers! 

The 9th and 10th Cavalries, started at Fort Leavenworth (Kansas), and 
then stationed in Indian Territory at Fort Sill, Oklahoma... were famous fighters. 
The Buffalo Soldiers were made up of black men who fought the Indian Wars. 

They followed our State and Federal colors, with their guidon flying. 

There were charros, too... and this man side-passed his way down Main Street on his 
beautiful horse. 

The young woman on the right was on what appeared to be a beautiful Paso Fino... 
and these made up a wonderful unit. 

Cowboys from our local Tailgate Ranch followed them. The empty saddle was 
a tribute to a lost friend. 

Though there were several motored units, the attraction of this short parade was clearly the horses. 
I did not go over to fourth street to see what all the tents contained, as the dogs 
were with me, and I would have had to keep them leashed.  I also limit their time outside in the heat these days. 

I was so glad I drove down to Tongie at just the right time to see all these wonderful riders and their horses! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Picture-Heavy Post

A Sunday morning visitor

The hooks for the hummingbird feeders are used by other birds, too. 

Our girl on her porch, where she grew up. 

This finch visited our deck. 

I am going to make an album of wayside flowers this fall. 

This was a spectacular fight.  No wonder I'm going through a suet cake a day at the old house. 

Rose - A - Sharon

If wishes were horses, I would still be feeding the birds at the old house... 
this cardinal girl kept looking at the flat feeder. 

A goldfinch on an echinacea

Our boy loves to go to the country, too. 

Lilly comes out of the pasture's high grass covered in seeds. 

I just love these two girls.  They are so calm and pretty. 

These two are now visiting the back porch frequently.  Remember, I am 
still feeding in the side yard, by my "pond"... but not as much.  Too many starlings began to appear. 

Three crows in a tree. 

Marsh Fleabane, I think... and beautiful. 

A closeup... it's beautiful... the color... 

This sumac has turned... fall is coming.