Saturday, November 08, 2008

Falling Leaves

Cheerio, my English Shepherd, is going to turn two years old this coming Thursday, and I thought I would celebrate her birthday by posting a recent picture here. We have a wonderful old maple tree in the side yard. I don't know exactly what kind of maple it is, but it has smaller leaves than some of the others, and they make a particularly lovely carpet around the trunk when they fall off the tree. The color just sets off Cheerio's coat beautifully.

Although she is nearly two and her "off switch" is much closer to being fully functioning, she still just loves to play, and our favorite game is to throw the jolly ball into the middle of a pile of leaves and watch her dive into the middle of the pile. She would emerge, leaves sticking out of the sides of her mouth with the jolly ball, reminding me of Linus jumping into the leaves with a wet sucker.

I've been spending all my painting time working on a large commissioned portrait, that I won't be able to post here until it's finished, and other studio time is being occupied by computer work. However, today was for more leaf raking. And what a day it was for working outside. It is so warm, I can't believe it's November. There is a small window of time to get the leaves raked before it snows. And I would rather not have to clean them all up in the spring. Growing up at my parents' house, on their small wooded lot, the leaves would be ankle deep, and you could easily accumulate a pile four feet high from raking a small area. We would haul the leaves on a big piece of plastic sheeting and dump them at the curb and wait for the city truck to come and suck them all up. Our yard now, with it's scattered mature trees, means I have a much bigger area to cover, and we tend to rake it in sections, depending on which trees drop their leaves first. At least our hauling method is the same, except there is no city truck to collect them. We just compost them ourselves along with the horse manure.

The big excitement of the day? Bluebirds! I saw a flock of five or six Eastern bluebirds in the yard this morning. I sure wish they would use the house I built for them, but I'm happy just to see them around once in a while.

And this last picture is my Morgan mare, Unique, looking cute wearing her fall "jewelry". I found someone selling these at Equine Affaire last year, and I thought it was a wonderful alternative to the big, clunky hunter-beware bell that clips onto the saddle (that is, if your saddle has d-rings, which mine doesn't, and those leather ties just don't hold it securely.) So now Unique is fashionable on her fall trail rides.