V was visiting today and wanted to do something different. Well, it just so happened that the Virginia Highlands Fall Festival was happening at Mount Rogers.
The highlight of the festival, which includes music, food and crafts, is the pony auction.
Some of the wild ponies that roam the park, are rounded up and auctioned off. The money goes to the local fire and rescue departments and helps support the care of the ponies through the winter.
There was a steady stream of people coming to look over the ponies.
J and V were picking out their favorites.
Then at 2:00 the crowd gathered for the excitement. Last year was rainy with a poor turnout and the ponies averaged about $125 with some going for as little as $25. This year, the weather was perfect. I'm not sure the exact average but it is probably around $450 with several going over $550. They were cute but not cute enough for us to bring one home at that price.
We did enjoy browsing though the craft tents. J had the best find...
a Reasor Green apple from a nursery in North Carolina that was selling trees. Yes, it is an heirloom variety developed by one of his ancestors. It was thought to be extinct but was later rediscovered. There is an interesting story about that HERE. They didn't have one of the trees with them but we could order it and have it shipped. J is trying to decide where to plant one now.
A very enjoyable day.
I have been wanting an outdoor bench. Pinterest to the rescue for ideas. I found multiple contenders but ultimately settled on this one.
image from pinterest
There was just the major problem of the supports being metal.
I solved that problem with some scrap 2x4's instead.
I was hoping that I had a nicer board laying around but all that I could find was this pine 2x10 that had been used in a concrete form. I made the gap for the board bigger just in case I come across something thicker that I like better.
I think I will stain the top natural and paint the supports black. Depending on how it turns out it may or may not make it outside.
Earlier this year J declared this to be "The Summer of Brother." Therefore, we have been trying to all the riding that we can with him. This weekend was our horse club's last show of the year. There were multiple other horse events close by so we were worried that there wouldn't be much of a turnout for our show. So Brother went to try to fill up some classes.
It was a small show. I entered 3 classes. We placed 2nd in Western Go As You Please out of six. Brother had a bad moment where he threw his head straight up when a horse was behind him. He absolutely hates horses behind him which is quite a handicap at a horse show. It's no fun on a trail ride either but easier to deal with.
Our next class was Jr. Horse Go As You Please. And seeing as we were the only one in the class we came away with the blue ribbon. And because there were no horses behind him he did perfect.
Then came our riding for charity class with 7 entries. He totally lost it when the walking horse flew by and then tried to catch up to it. We ended up 4th. Only his 2nd show this year, he was calmer outside the ring and I got some good riding in. We all got home in one piece so another successful outing. Now J wants to continue on with "The Autumn of Brother."
I need to quit looking at Pintrest. My current obsession is engineering prints. Apparently, people are using them to blow up photos to use as art. These can come in sizes up to 3 feet by 4 feet. As soon as I saw that I started thinking about where I was going to hang one and what picture to use.
This is the picture that I have currently narrowed my focus to.
I manipulated it with the software already on my computer to come up with this. I liked it but was wanting it a little more abstract.
So I found a free app that had more effects to chose from and used the oil painting effect to come up with this. I love what it did to the trees.
But then I wondered if I was getting too fancy and just went back to black and white. I've looked at it so much now I can't decide what to do. At $7 for the black and white and $13 for the color, I guess I could do them all.
We finally got a chance to check the bees and see about robbing the honey Saturday.
We started with the established hive. We have gotten a full super of honey off of it for the last 3 years.
But when J opened it up...
He checked the top hive body and it was fine, brood and honey there so hopefully they will be good for the winter.
He checked the hive that we caught this spring next. More brood and honey there but only enough for them for the winter.
They say one year is never like the next with bees. I think in the spring when we were suppose to have the strongest nectar flow, the weather was too dry. J also said he thinks he never saw the locust trees bloom. There could be lots of factors but it all adds up to no honey this year :( But maybe we will have two strong hives going into next spring.
Like everyone else, between work and vacation, it's been busy. This year J and I took off to Mount Roger's with our saddle club for camping and trail riding.
We got a great spot this time and were even able to use the picket line so we didn't have to have the horses tied to the trailer. Without them clanging and banging we even got some sleep at night. We also took our old grill so we could cook hamburgers for supper and bacon and eggs for breakfast. Best we have eaten on a trail ride too.
As anyone that has hiked or ridden on Mount Rogers knows, it's pretty rocky up there. Friday, J and I were a little late getting there so we rode by ourselves for a couple of hours.
The next day we went in a group of 8. Otoelene was a dream until she saw the long horn cattle. She freaked out! Between that and the campers at the scales with the tents, fires and Frisbees, I had to get off and lead her until we were out of sight of it all. It was so unlike her because I work the cattle on her here all the time.
Anyway, the views were stunning.
The weather was nice, 70s in the day 40's to 50's at night.
Don't tell anyone we took this trail.
We ended up riding about 6 hours the second day.
Then Sunday we went back out with 8 others but then split off with 2 when we realized they weren't riding to the top again. Otoelene did better with the cattle. I don't think they surprised her as bad and we kept our distance. We did get into bees twice however.
Brother did good for the most part. A few episodes of mind lost but J handled it all well. At 5 and 6 ours were the youngest horses out of the 16 there. Sunday we rode for another 7 hours. All back in one piece so another great weekend.
Then Monday, since she had the day off, I went wedding dress shopping with V. Success! We bought a dress and I think it was even reasonably priced. She was beautiful in everything she tried on so it just came down to what she liked better. And what she liked was one that fit the best so it will need very little in the alteration department. Now we can get to work on the rest of the wedding details.