Watermelon Event

Saturday, October 02, 2020

Yesterday on this ranch, a “watermelon day.” Chickens were delighted; horses were in heaven with melon moisture streaming from their lips.

Watermelon days are fun, but require advance planning. First, I must wrap my head around dealing with a heavy melon. It’ll need hauling into a grocery cart, and then loaded into, and later from my vehicle. Finally at home, it needs cutting, which requires planning.

I pause and try recalling my childhood days of helping in my family’s small grocery store. Did we cut melons horizontally or longitudinally? I opt for longitudinal and and take a long anticipatory look at the melon’s center. I plunge my biggest butcher knife straight in, as much as my strength can push the knife. Afterward, I complete the cut by finessing.

I roll the melon and with my knife manipulate the initial cut until the fruit starts popping apart. (And here to myself, a reminder to video this someday.) Now, with two halves, both hopefully with bright red centers, I steal a few thirsty nibbles before slicing the halves into chunks. They’ll be set out for chickens and turkeys. A reserved chunk gets sliced into horse-size treats.

The melon is in pieces but its total weight unchanged. Besides being heavy, it needs organizing, for toting a hundred yards downhill to the barn area. All my critters are excited on seeing me and anticipating treats. There’s no time to waste deciding which to feed first. The horses are the most demanding with Rosie snorting and kicking the gate. Horses get first dibs.

I laugh at their sloppy drools. My hands are are full, but I wish for a camera to capture Pimmy’s slurps. I’d post an image on her Facebook page. Having reactivated her page has me focusing more on Pimmy. Next watermelon day, I’ll create a wished-for video.

Next, the chickens and turkeys. They’re ready! As large chunks are placed around, they dive in. Not just bird types, but also their goat buddies. Speaking of birds, the wild ones, on seeing me leave, zoom in for a crack of sheer deliciousness.

It’s a big job, “doing watermelons” and it’s rewarding. Before the changing season affects grocery supplies, I’ll tote another watermelon home. I’ll find a way to capture the action visually.

Dear Friends: Slurp, slurp, meaning lots of work and worth it! Diana

Starring Ms. Pimmy

Got a treat?

Saturday, October 01, 2022

As of today, Pimmy’s Facebook page is reactivated. Yesterday, Bend Equine Veterinarian, Dr. Tyler and his vet tech came; they re-examined and re-wrapped Pimmy’s “boo-boo” hoof. They learned that Pimmy has a Facebook page, looked at its photos, and decided to start following Pimmy.

I’ve neglected this donkey’s page lately, but it has followers. People always ask about her. They’re interested in her temperament, how she bonds with the horses living with her, and whatever she might be doing beyond the barn. So, Pimmy again will be out and about on her own social media page.

That encourages me to work more with Pimmy. She’s fun, photogenic, and might again become active in the community. If there’s an upcoming Thanksgiving Parade, she might march. Our artist friend, Janet, created Pimmy’s Christmas costume and might help to ready her for a Thanksgiving event.

Pimmy’s recent hoof abscess is healing; she no longer limps. Yesterday, the boo-boo hoof received a final wrap. It’s minimal and Dr. Tyler said the entire wrap probably will “fall off” in a week. I’ll keep the healthy hoof clean so another pebble doesn’t settle into the crevice.

TwinkleToe

Dear Friends: This sweet and enjoyable donkey delights nearly everyone. Diana

Gaze Up & Dream

Friday, September 30, 2022

I have a couple of days off from work with lots on my plate. My working days consume a lot of energy, and evenings after work are dedicated to basic needs at home.

In the days ahead, I have things to accomplish around the barn and inside the house. Otherwise, I’ll practice using Photoshop software. I’ll also go out and experiment more with my camera’s potential.

I’ve been unable to download photos to my computer for lacking a special gadget. That part is arriving soon to make sharing possible.

I hope to create computer-generated images that will illustrate a story I drafted years ago. It’s about a pony and needs illustrations. The DALL-E capabilities might help to finish it.

My days off are beginning, and everything’s happening ahead.

Dear Friends: Dreams can be energizing, and learning from them is fabulous. Diana

DALL-E, Open AI

The research lab, Open AI, now allows the public to access DALL-E, its artificial intelligence platform which can generate imaginary images. I used it to request a cartoon, “A female blogger in the process of dreaming up a topic.” Thus, DALL-E has created today’s header photo.

So much is possible on DALL-E that it has the potential of blurring imagination and reality. Here’s another DALL-E image generated upon my request. “In the style of Chinese watercolor, a female strolling in a forest.”

Until now, the most creative imaging and manipulative opportunities available have been by using the giant and expensive Photoshop software. DALL-E is a worthwhile challenger, and besides, it’s almost free. One gets x-numbers of free images and afterward may purchase more of them.

I continued testing by requesting another: “A full moon slightly above a hunting wolf.”

I’m blown away by the possibilities of this AI. It has great potential for making one’s imagination come alive. It also has a downside. Tricksters could use this AI to generate fantasies and claim them as real. In near future, social media will provide evidence of the upsides and downsides.

A genuine plus of having a workable and teachable AI open to the public, is to explore and create. As a teaching tool, it provides insight into the amazing possibilities of using AI. It’s a powerful way of gaining insight to our uniquely personal ways of imaging and viewing.

A Washington Post article first introduced me to DALL-E and its potential. It’s fascinating to read, and here’s a link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/interactive/2022/artificial-intelligence-images-dall-e/?itid=hp-top-table-main-t-5

Watercolor image of a Spinning World

Dear Friends: Our awareness increases more quickly than we might realize. Diana

Health & Convenience

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

In my work as a supermarket checker, I see escalating food prices and watch for their effect on customer purchases. It’s a mixed bag. Some customers buy mostly organic and basic products, but most select products that mostly are pre-prepared for convenience.

I get it, too, for many moms come through my checkout line towing small children. Those moms work at loading a checkout belt and then hurry to the bagging side to bag their buys. (I work in a self-bagging market.)

Meanwhile, the kids are after their moms, demanding toys from nearby displays or crying to be picked up, or noisily fighting with one another. And, so much more! A mom with hands full knows that convenience foods make managing children easier and quicker.

Capturing widespread attention is the huge amount of highly processed foods on the market and popular. They’re labeled as “convenience” and “instant energy” and “plant-based substitute” foods. Those products pass my register in huge amounts.

I purchase, too, many easily available low-calorie, non-sugar, low-carb items. Now, I’m rethinking because many food products are too overly processed. This fast-food era with rapidly rising costs makes one reconsider how to buy, store, and prepare food products.

In my case, no small children are demanding attention. As a single person, I can change managing groceries and cooking without bringing down the roof. Nonetheless, fewer pre-prepared foods will make me spend more time storing, preparing, and cooking.

I’m disliking products with bunches of ingredients and still labeled as milk, bread, water, and such. They’re not, and such conveniences are expensive. Ahead, a jury will have much to say about the long-term healthiness of highly processed product users.

Today I’ll watch buyers and plan changes to some of my food-related habits. Ahead, more on this topic.

Dear Friends: Challenging the domination of mass marketing. Diana    

Pimmy’s Ouch!

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Yesterday, the mobile veterinarian, Tyler, at first wondered if laminitis were causing Pimmy’s lameness. On discovering only one front hoof painful, he focused on another possibility.

Pimmy’s hoof bottoms had been too tightly packed for my pitiful strength with a hoof knife. Tyler, digging into the painful hoof, found an embedded rock and infection beneath it.

That probably had been building up and causing pain for a while. Animals are amazing in that they’re stoic, and can “suck it up” long before a human sees anything unusual. That happened with Pimmy. One morning, upon seeing her, boom! She severely was limping with a front hoof too painful for support.

Regardless, Pimmy remained stoic, managing to hobble to the hay doles and eat. She even dodged a little faux kicking by her cool weather-inspired horse buddies.

Pimmy isn’t limping anymore. Tyler has packed her hoof with a “drawing medicine” and bandaged it. I’m instructed to re-medicate and re-bandage on Wednesday and Friday. He said that on Wednesday, the old dressing will come off damp, but by Friday should be dry, indicating a recovered hoof.

For years, Pimmy and my horses have been a tight trio. Pimmy is lovely and the only donkey I’ve known. Tyler at first approached Pimmy gingerly, in case she proved uncooperative and difficult to handle as donkeys often are. He was delighted to find an easy-peasy patient.

Small thanks to me for this donkey’s trusting nature. Instead, many kudos to Pimmy’s first humans, our kind friends in Eugene.

Dear Friends: Last night, unworried about Pimmy, I slept well. Diana

Pimmy’s Leg

Monday, September 26, 2022

Early today, I’ll contact Bend Equine, a medical facility, and request a “farm call.” A veterinarian needs to come and examine Pimmy, my donkey.

Last week something happened that causes her to limp severely. One of the horses might have kicked her. That seems unlikely after the trio’s many years of healthy togetherness. Nonetheless, accidents occur.

I can’t find an outer sign of injury except for seeing her difficulties in moving around. It’s evident that Pimmy doesn’t set the hoof of her injured leg flatly on the ground. She struggles to move with the injured leg on its tiptoe.

I search for another outward sign of injury. She’s not bothered when my hands are moving up and down the injured leg, nor bothered when I am pressuring the injured leg’s hoof-bottom.

I hoped she’d improve but don’t see that happening. This weekend, I tried to find a mobile equine veterinarian who was working, without luck. Today, I’ll have someone competent come to examine her.

It’s sad seeing my usually tough donkey with problems. Maybe she did get caught by an accidental kick. This cooling weather makes horses exuberant, and periodically, they’re running about and kicking out.

Dear Friends: More ahead when I know why her leg hurts. Diana    

Local View

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Yesterday, there seemed fewer than usual customers in the supermarket where I’m a cashier. Sure, plenty arrived to keep we workers busy, but the overall volume was less than “Saturday as usual.” Maybe today the store will be double slammed.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. One could guess that most would-be Saturday shoppers were outside enjoying the fall weather. Today’s news carries stories about would-be campers, without campsite reservations, fighting with those having reservations. Apparently, “open first-come-first-served” campground spots can be reserved, and yesterday, forest area supervisors had their hands full.

Today is Sunday, usually busy with grocery shoppers, pushing full baskets in long lines for checking out. On average Sundays, cash registers ring non-stop from start to end. Today will turn into a real “whop-to-do,” if those who chose to play yesterday show up today for their groceries.

I can’t help mentioning inflation. Even in my cut-rate supermarket workplace, some loaves of bread now ring up in the neighborhood of $6 each. I’m noticing, too, more sales of do-it-yourself products, like those for baking bread.

It’s time to search for and dust off our long-stashed bread-making machines.

Dear Friends: “All politics (and [my insertion] economics) is local.” Diana     

Roamer

Friday, September 24, 2022

Yesterday, I needed a little therapy and decided to roam Costco. My excuse was to replenish my dwindling supply of dog biscuits. My real reason was from a weird bit of restlessness making me want to wander in a big store.

Feeling “housebound” can be unsettling. My flooring person has stashed around tools and a large supply of vinyl flooring. He’s a friend, working on his own time and sometimes disappearing for periods. I get it, that’s our deal.

I’ve begun sleeping in the guest bedroom. Like most other spaces, it’s crammed with “stuff” needing removal from the floorer’s work areas. In disarray, I must search for items. No longer are comfortable areas for sitting, reading, and dozing.

Sometimes I need to wander. Not out walking through the streets, alone or with an animal companion, but roaming among other wanderers.    

As things turned out, Costco was a good call. I spotted the Pharmacy Department and managed to receive both a Covid booster and a flu shot. That wasn’t a conscious part of yesterday’s plan but was a key goal.

Exiting Costco with dog biscuits and a couple of on-sale items set me back a hundred dollars. That’s almost a non-issue in a store that easily can set one back hundreds of dollars. Best and accidentally, I received those boosters.

Dear Friends: That wander dissolved nervous energy and solved a need. Diana

Hound Dog

Friday, September 23, 2022

Today, I will take Ranger, my aging hound dog, to the veterinarian who last week assessed my mini-Aussie, Louie. She was observant, knowledgeable, and supportive, agreeing that Louie, in old age, had fallen ill and was suffering. She helped me say goodbye to my brave and loyal little buddy.

Ranger, too, is aging. He needs an updated health baseline. My recent experience with Louie’s health issues alerted me to be more aware of the aging process. Ranger’s face now shows some gray and he’s also a bit stiffer and slower.

Twelve years ago, as a little lost puppy, he appeared on my doorstep. I advertised but nobody responded. Meanwhile, the puppy made it clear that I was “his person.” That’s never changed.

I always preferred working-type dogs, especially herding breeds. I never estimated hound-types as being smart, but Ranger changed my attitude. He’s been a devoted companion, dependable outdoors buddy, and is plenty smart. I’ve appreciated that he has what’s called “a cold nose,” referring to hunting types, uninterested in seeking or chasing the wild game.

For years, along with Louie, Ranger ran alongside me on horseback and over all sorts of terrain. On all trails, straight-arrow Ranger ran in the lead, and always, upon losing sight of me, he quickly backtracked and made sure my horse was following.

Dear Friends: Ahead, is watching over his senior years. Diana