Copperfox Challenge Day 2 (#CDCDay2)

From the Copperfox Blog:
Day 2:
 Name your model or barn (#CDCDay2)

Have a go at naming the most recent addition to your herd by giving them a show name, stable name and pet name. As further ideas, why not do the same for your barn or stable yard and then make a barn tour video?

My most recent addition to my barn was actually THREE new stable friends that all arrived this week!  I definitely have some catch-up on names to do with my new purchases in 2015, but for now I’ll concentrate on these pretty ponehs.

Stone DAH 2016 – Tennessee Walking Horse in palomino: Armend (“mind of gold”)
Stone DAH 2016 – Trotting Drafter in buckskin: Hickory – just because it fits 🙂
Breyer WEG 2010 – Roxy in palomino: Rayna (“Beautiful to Gaze Upon”)

For now, here is a casual picture, taken of the three upon opening:

20160223_124419_resized I’ll post official photos in the appropriate Flickr collections (My Stone Inventory | My Breyer Inventory)

My virtual stable was born as “Clover Lake Stables” back in the 1980s.  I officially considered the activities I did with my model horses a hobby while I was a 4-H member and several of those activities were done through my local 4-H horse club. I always liked their symbol – a 4 leaf clover, so that was the first part.  I have also liked scenic lakes, and daydream of owning a big property with a lovely lake shaped like a clover, so thus was born “Clover Lake Stables”.  

A couple years ago I renamed my virtual property to Clover Lake Acres, to encompass not just my horses, but my dogs, other animals and various activities (in my virtual world of course though I have done real life dog training instruction!)

Nowadays, when I daydream of being involved in training animals or people, I like to use the name the “Eclectic Approach”.  I am fascinated with training theories and techniques and pride myself on using any number of these to best suit my particular client or animal, real life (“RL”) or virtual.

Copperfox Challenge 2016 – Day 1 (#CDCDay1)

So, I just read on another model horse collector’s page about the Copperfox Challenge, hosted by Copperfox Models, a new model horse company based in Britain.

It looked easy and cute, so I thought I’d do a post on my almost dead blog here to participate.

I’m late to coming into this challenge, so I’m going to just start with Day 1, today, February 8th:
Quoted from Copperfox Website:
Day 1:  Inspiration Day (#CDCDay1)
An easy start to our challenge! Find something that inspires you. It could be a picture of an unusual colour of horse that you would like to turn into a model, a how-to tutorial video or a piece in your favourite magazine about collecting things that you love. Or it could be a song, film, piece of poetry- whatever it is, find something that gets your creativity going!

This might not be the most beautiful photo – I enjoy photography as a hobby and I have much nice photos, BUT… this is my own, and to me, it gets me thinking about stables, barns, horse properties, etc… and since this is all about being creative with my model horses, I thought this was appropriate 🙂



Inspiration? Well, this is my favorite mantra right now:


For fun?  Well I don’t want to get in trouble for copyright infringement, so I invite my viewers to note the signature in lower right of this illustration..unfortunately I found this through google, so I can’t give a link to the original creator’s location… however.. can I just say how ADORABLE this little creature is?  I pinned a small batch of these onto my Pinterest Fantasy Board a while back, and they just make me smile 🙂


So there’s that for today.  Will post next challenge tomorrow!

Weekend Adventures

Ted and I hiked at Stokes State Forest Saturday. Great day. We started out at the park office where we picked up a map.  Ted has a real interest in the history, plight and prognosis of the famed American Chestnut We hiked up to the Culvers Fire Tower, and a guy from the forest fire service was there and invited us up to the actual station. VERY cool view up there. We actually looked DOWN at the vultures 🙂 We chatted for a few minutes and then “Carl” spotted a puff of smoke. It was easy to see and he talked us through the process of reporting a smoke sighting. That particular puff was probably just some illegal burning. Apparently you can burn in certain places in NJ with a permit, but you have to be registered and can only do it on certain days, so he has a list that he checks to see who is scheduled for burning. Just a couple minutes later he spotted another puff, far off in the distance. This one I couldn’t see no matter how hard I tried, and it was apparently hard to nail down, because we stayed out of his way and quiet for 10 minutes as he called in, gave coordinates, checked again, etc., trying to confirm it with a spotter closer to the site.  We had hoped he would be able to finish the call so we could talk more with him, but when it became apparent this one was going to take a while we waved to him and made a quiet exit so he could do his work. As we left I thought about how fortunate we were were that we had that opportunity to speak with Carl and learn about the job of a Forest Fire employee. There were other hikers who arrived as we climbed down the tower who probably didn’t get the same opportunity as us because Carl was busy when we left. The old cliche “right time, right place” seems to fit that moment.

Ted had been here previously and had enjoyed walking along the Appalachian Trail which happened to cross one of the regular trails at the fire tower. I knew of two letterboxes that were down the hill on a couple lower trails and had anticipated finding them.  Since we had spent more time than we expected checking out the Blight Resistance Trial area, time had gone by quickly and once we were done with the tower, and after looking at a map, we realized we didn’t have time to do both.  After some discussion, and considering Ted had run out of water, we opted for what he thought was the easier option, to find the letterboxes.

We took the lower tower trail down the same route we had traveled the weekend before and again wound up at the intersection of a few of the main trails. We found one box in the vicinity and after debating if we could find the other one and get out of the woodsy trail before dark, we went for it and took off at a quick pace. We were pleased to find the second box in good daylight and were fine on the trail to the road, but by then the sun was just skimming the tops of the trees along the road so our timing was just right. The road itself was about a mile back to our car so Ted was happy that in the end we hiked about 4 miles.

Sunday we didn’t hunt for any letterboxes. I went to church early to practice for worship and Ted joined me during the service. Afterwards Ted bolted out and home to mow our lawn and I drove to Parsippany Library to set up a display for National Wildlife Refuge Week.

Setting up the display took 40 minutes longer than I had expected and I was felt tired when I got done. When I called Ted to tell him I was on my way home and to ask what he wanted to do he had a suggestion that worked well. In a brochure we had picked up Saturday at the park, he saw a “Moonlit Hike” going on that very evening at the Round Valley Recreational Area down near Readington. After resting a couple hours at home we drove down to Round Valley Recreation Area. Round Valley was a reservoir that was created from flooding a valley of farms. The story is a little sad (farmers were “thrown out”), but it is a beautiful park these days. We took nice mile or so walk around part of the reservoir, and then headed back to the parking lot where we met up with a group of people who were there for the “Halloween Moonlit Hike”. It is one of the few times visitors are allowed in the park after 6pm and is done on the weekend closest to Halloween when the moon is at it’s fullest. The group was large, 30 of us, many of them younger children. It was a rather noisy bunch, but the walk was still fun. The moon was just gorgeous and you could see your path by moonlight alone (if not for the kids who insisted on having the flashlights out). We were glad we got out a bit, even if it was a slower pace and the moon was just phenomenal.

Short adventures in the outdoors

Last weekend, my husband and I tried to get outdoors as much as our schedules allowed. On Saturday afternoon we visited a “hawk watch” called Chimney Rock, an interesting vista along a chain of hills. We didn’t see a whole lot there – a bunch of vultures, but I talked to some kind bird watchers and I did make the first spot on a harrier which was pretty exciting for a total beginner. I didn’t ID it of course- it was far away and I admit to having not much clue about who’s who in the air, but it was great learning from people who were experienced enough to figure out who was out there.

Because of some extenuating circumstances Ted and I did not get out of doors until later on Sunday. We did visit the Great Swamp in the afternoon as visitors, and it was exciting that I was able to help some of the other visitors spot some wildlife that they would not have found otherwise. It’s a great cycle- getting to know those more experienced than me, learning from their knowledge and being able to pass down what small amount of knowledge I have to others.

The simple website for Chimney Rock, with directions a couple pictures and bird migration totals is here:
Great Swamp information can be located here: Be sure to check out the link to Friends of the Great Swamp, the volunteer organization that helps the refuge staff and has some great educational and recreational opportunities.  Coming up in October is the “Big Sit” and National Wildlife Refuge Week, so look around and maybe I’ll see you there!

The Writing Struggle

As I read a post today on my Yahoo Group, “Life_Story_Projects, I thought about how I’m
struggling with the first draft, of getting “MORE” words on the page, and I struggle keeping my attention on editing my work. It’s
ALL a bit of a challenge for me, but I do love seeing written pages- I admit that my page count increase is what keeps me going, or
even keeps me thinking about keeping going sometimes! LOL

For me this is a life-long project, and I think the lack of deadlines works against me being productive at times! That’s one
reason I really want to do a teleclass workshop on autobiography. For everything good I have accomplished in my life I have needed a
very firm structure, and serious accountability for my productivity-whether that was for weight loss, writing my first “novel” in a
month, or for my autobiography pieces.

I also struggle somewhat with the bigger purpose of my autobiography. At 35 I don’t have children (hubby and I spoke about
that one again last night, and again, no conclusion- sigh) and since I have no interest in publishing my “mundane” writing (of course I
find it interesting, but it’s definitely not fodder for broader public appeal!) I sometimes wonder in the end what my purpose is.
For now, I just do it for the love of expressing myself on paper.

Right now I’m trying to journal more often. I was proud of myself to have journaled my vacation story. I did it just a day after our
trip, while it was fresh in my memory (you can see it on and I enjoyed recounting the
moments on paper 🙂 For me, these little details are the stuff of bigger writing- I write it, I scrapbook it, I do my holiday letters
based on it, and hopefully will integrate it into my life stories as well.
Oh gee, I just gave myself a bit of a pep talk, and now I want to go and find something else in my life to write about! 😀

Maine Vacations, Part II – 2008

Maine, 2008

Our second trip to Maine was different from the first, but just as extraordinary. We visited the sites that so charmed us last year; West Quoddy Head and Head Harbor (East Quoddy) lighthouses, the Roosevelt Estate, our back yard (amazing in itself), the gift shops, and the jetty in Lubec into the channel; It was all amazing, all over again, but we saw them all in a sometimes familiar, but always different light then our first looks. At East Quoddy, instead of directly walking up and down and up and down, to the lighthouse island, our first visit was in the dark on our first night out. It was an unusually quiet night, very calm, and the eerie red light from the lighthouse, and the huge, mysterious (due to weather conditions – very foggy), unidentifiable ship that slowly made it’s way from behind the lighthouse off toward Johnson Bay were both interesting in their own rights. We saw a familiar site at a very different time, and it made it seem altogether new.

At West Quoddy Light, we spent more time in the museum, Ted studying the exhibits closely, me chatting at length with “Ginny”, one of the volunteers, whose grandparents were the first of her family in the area, and whose father was one of the last lightkeepers before the lighthouse was automated. We hiked more than last year, making it all the way to the intersection of the Coastal and Thompson trails. We chose to go inland on the Thompson trail on the way back; the coastal trail had been pretty rugged with numerous muddy spots, and although we considered taking the trail out to Minzy field and walking the road back to the lighthouse, it started raining and we decided to take to the shelter of the inland Thompson trail. Good choice and within 1/2 hour I was able to photograph a cool scene of the sun shining through the trees in a little opening, which was blanketed with fog and bordered by rain droplets which were hanging on to the trees after the storm had passed.

Our back yard was primarily Ted’s “hunting place”, where he gained his first experience of doing his own mussel gathering. He happily slipped through the rockweed littered rocks and slogged through the thick intercoastal mud searching for the delicacy with a big pot in one hand, steadily picking over 4 dozen mussels (which later got him sick, not realizing just how many he had eaten!).

One night, the stars were so beautiful we didn’t want to come down from the top deck. Instead of craning our necks, we borrowed the futon cushion from indoors, and laid on our backs viewing the gorgeous dark sky, bright milky way, and delightful shooting stars when they fell at those rare and special moments.

We ate dinner at the same two restaurants most of the week (there aren’t a lot of choices in Lubec and Campobello) but this time enjoyed full conversations with waitresses at the Lupine Lodge and host/hostess Dave and Suzannah Dale at the Home Port Inn. The food was great, the conversations very satisfying.

Deer Island was reached solely by a simple but fascinating car ferry set up. Ted and I explored the main roads of the 7 mile long mostly wooded island, ate at one of the few businesses and spent some extended time in a quiet cove of cold clear water and a cool close-by cliff. We spent an equally quiet but fascinating time on a local wharf; where I spent the entire time taking detailed pictures of the pier, boats, and gulls, and Ted sat on a bench soaking up the afternoon sun and dozing for 1/2 hour. It was a lovely, out of the way expedition, wholly unexpected and totally gratifying departure from our previous locations.

Back at East Qouddy we spent yet more time NOT going to the lighthouse, but hanging out at the land bridge, picking up rocks and studying the sea vegetables and other life-forms. Ted made an awesome observation which I was absolutely thrilled with- there on the edge of the bridge, in a jumble of rocks and seaweeds, was a really large sea star, a beautiful light peachy color, clinging to one of the rocks with bent legs as the water washed over it. I was mad at myself for only bringing my compact camera down to the bridge, but did my best to catch several good shots of the awesome and lovely sea creature. Only on our third and final trip to the island’s northern tip did we finally climb down the stairs, over the land bridge, up the stairs, across the first island, over the bridge to the second island and down the stairs to the rocky land mass that finally brought us to the lovely historical Head Harbor Light, with it’s traditional red cross on white background. There we remembered our light room tour the previous year, gazed out at the water for whales (no luck this time) and picked our way around the island, enjoying the details as well as the big picture. Less photos from me (though still a lot!), more time gazing, and a healthy dose of relaxing with the sun, sky and shore. After we got back to the bridge we spent 45 minutes just hanging out again at the land bridge, this time watching the tide make it’s relentless path towards coverering the access bridge during high tide. Our only motivation for leaving too soon to see it cover over, was because the whales were waiting for us on our whale watch with Captain Riddle’s team.

The whale watch was quite different this year; more people, less commentary from “Captain Jack”, the father of the actual “Captain Riddle”. An old fisherman I’m sure, although he didn’t say, he spent little time chatting and more time initially speeding, then quietly sputtering along the waters in search of the ultimate whale gathering. We passed eagles (a pleasure I hadn’t had yet this year) and Cormorants (who were readily visible just about everywhere on the water), and of course took a trip to the little island where the seals were playing, their heads bobbing about, eyeing us more out of curiosity then fear. The highlight was his success and our delight, when he managed to get right in the middle of a circle of finbacks, which were feeding on the unusually calm, glassy waters that day. Many mediocre pictures and a few “keepers” later, we headed back to shore, happy for the chance to get close and personal with the ocean wildlife, even if we were no more educated than when we hit the waters in that speedy little boat.

The Bold Coast Trails were definitely a BOLD endeavor this year. Last year we enjoyed a relatively easy, 1.1 mile hike to the edge of the coast and a great promonitory of rock, jutting out into the waters, one side, the open sea, the other, a narrow, deep crevice of rock which endured the punishing waves as they crashed into the tight space time and time again as the tide rolled up. What started out as a casual curiosity for what lay on the other side of the rock wound up becoming a full 6 mile loop trail, 3 of which were along the rugged rocks of the coast. The sights were gorgeous; around every curve in the trail was another amazing display of sharp rocks meeting ferocious waves and the foam and the sea spray was uniformly impressive each and every time we witnessed it. However, with too little water and not as much time to complete it (since it was not planned) not to mention no actual map on hand to refer to where the trail was going, we were exhausted at the end, dying of thirst and entirely happy to be done with any major trails for the week (this was on Wednesday, so we only had two full days left anyway). We were proud of conquering the trail, but were once again reminded of the importance of planning for the unexpected, even if we were only intending an easy excursion.

Throughout the week we drove to various nooks and crannies on Campobello Island. We took a long walk along the beach at Herring Cove and especially enjoyed walking around at Liberty Point, where last year the wind was so gusty that we barely had 10 minutes to get out of the car, be tossed around by the wind as we spied the corners of this spot, then retreated back to the warmth of the car. This day was the opposite- sunny, relatively warm (though still breezy- it’s always breezy on the ocean side of the island), and we took plenty of time to wander about, reading the park signs, checking out the sea from all angles, and walking casually along the gangplank-like observation deck which literally sat directly above the deep waters. Ted had a special fondness throughout the week of hopping on the huge rock piles along the coast during low tide. I toggled between carefully balancing among the gray giants and standing back, a bit fearful of the fierce and VERY cold sea below (the water is ALWAYS cold there and a person can die of hypothermia in 3 minutes if he loses his footing). One day was a bit of a wash, since the sunny/overcast weather finally gave way to a full rain and fog. We did a lot of slow driving through the car trails of Campobello, with frequent stops to get out in the soggy weather to get a quick view of the sights before us and a few token photos to say we’ve been there (the quality of which was severely compromised due to the bad conditions). Still, we enjoyed our travels and my highlight was getting close to Channel Light, another lighthouse which was an inaccesible “sparkplug” style structure, which I adoringly called “Sparky”.

Another new activity which I had read about last year but hadn’t been able to squeeze into our schedule, was a tour led by a local tourguide service. I was thrilled to find the schedule of “Lubec Tours” early enough in the week that I chose my favorite, an introduction to the “intertidal” ecosystem.
Shelly, a 3rd generation “Lubeckian”, took us on a personalized van tour of three different beaches. As we walked along the shore in our borrowed goloshes, she showed us many, many creatures and plant forms along this diverse habitat, from the shrimp-like scuds and their homes under the rockweed, to the shallow burrowing clams, to the invasive foreign “green crabs”, one of which was hiding in a pool within a huge rock. Ted was happy to learn about more than four different kinds of plant life that were totally edible, and taste tested 3 of them on the spot, while I enjoyed slopping around in the mud, skimming the beach for “treasures” and taking ID photos of all our finds. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour and “Lubec Tours” went on our “highly recommended” list.

On our last afternoon, we tried to revisit some of the spots on Campobello which we had previously tried to enjoy in the bad weather. We did get another look down at Cranberry point, but it was again brief since the weather changed quickly. To our wondering eyes, we did witness the literal rolling of fog from the water over the land, which was so intriqueing that we got out of the car and stood there, feeling as though we were being engulfed in a cloud. The visibility went from about 1/2 mile to 20 feet in a matter of minutes, and our appreciation for the fishermen of the area grew exponentially as we witnessed the scary prospect of getting stuck at sea in the midst of such a weather change.

The biggest surprise and delight of my trip came totally unexpectedly. One morning, I left the house in the car while Ted took his time getting ready. My purpose was to go to the location where it seemed the schedule of Lubec Tours would be located and to sign up if possible. Finding that building locked, I ventured down to the main street, where I had seen the posters last year. Though I did not find the tour organization, I did wander into a gallery/historical museum of sorts. The door was open so I walked in and looked around for several minutes before someone actually found me. I had picked up a few postcards to buy and asked the woman to help, which she did. She brought me to the front desk where she rang up my purchase while mentioning that I was lucky to get in- that they were officially closed that day, and had just been moving some chairs and such around in preparation for a meeting that evening. As we chatted happily, me about our vacationing, her about the gallery, she had mentioned an event with many photographers and I responded by mentioning how I had just finished reading a book at the house called “Downeast” by a photographer named Frank Van Riper. Well, to my great surprise and amazement, Rachel pointed to the gentleman that moseyed up to the front with us, and had been standing slightly behind me for a minute and said “and here he is”… I was dumbstruck!! Here I was, telling her how much I loved this book, and the author himself was casually standing beside me!! Of course we shook hands, traded cards (his business and my contact) and I was able to get Rachel to take a few pictures of the two of us. Frank, who was based in D.C., but who had a place in Lubec which he and his wife stayed at seasonally, was very down to earth and friendly. I was pleased as could be to have met the man, and it was his mention of a possible photography workshop next year that made me consider the possibility of breaking my record yet again, to do a repeat vacation in the same place, three times in a row! (and of course I had to buy one of the few books left for sale, an autographed copy bought at that same gallery. )

Our second trip to Maine was filled with suspense, thrill, quiet, relaxation, tension, endurance and beauty, among other things, and we again fought our depression as we headed back from our lovely haven in “downeast”.

Six Word Memoirs


I did an internet search this morning for “stories , memoirs”, and found a great little article;

Smith magazine asked readers to create memoirs using JUST SIX WORDS- no more, no less. This was my first try, and I think I’ll play around with it until I find just the right one.

Constantly seeking self – discipline. Frequently disappointed.







Four Things about NJHeart2Heart 02 May 2008

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. Dog training Instructor
2. Assistant at local 4-H office (ask me what 4-H is!)
3. Executive Assistant
4. Soundboard operator / worship singer (you didn’t say it had to be a paying job!- these are two ways I minister through my local church 🙂  )

B) Four movies I would watch over and over.

1. Sound of Music
2. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
3. Lion, Witch and Wardrobe

C) Four places I have lived

1. Mine Hill, NJ
2. Houghton, NY (college)
3. Lake Hiawatha, NJ
4. Dover, NJ

D) Four TV shows I love to watch:

1.  House M.D.
2.  Man vs. Wild w/ Bear Grylls
3.  Little People, Big World

E) Four places I have been on vacation:

1. Lubec, Maine
2. Harper’s Farry, WV
3. Corpus Christi, TX
4. Chincoteague Island, VA

F) Websites visited daily:

1.  Yahoo Group- Preserving our Heritage
2.  My customized Yahoo page
3. Stories to Memoirs
4. (not EVERY day, but often)

G) Four of my favorite foods:

1. Annie’s brand Mac and Cheese
2. dry cereal
3. ice cream (Turkey Hill limited edition “southern lemon pie”)
4. french fries

H) Four places I would rather be right now:

1. in bed under my fuzzy blanket, reading a book
2. doing a light hike with my digital SLR
3. at a writer’s workshop
4. anywhere other than NJ!

I) Four people I would like to meet:

1. My dad’s father (died when my dad was young)
2. C.S. Lewis (dead)
3. Jesus (I’d like to sit and have a chat with him!)
4. any of my yet unknown relatives in Ireland or Austria (I also dabble in genealogy)

K) Four things you want us to know about your family, yourself or your life!

1. I’m happily married since 2003
2. we own a lovely kitty named Shena
3. I enjoy scrapbooking
4. I have my own mission statement, goals and governing values that I review each year.

2007 09 21 Photowalk 035

2007 09 21 Photowalk 035

Originally uploaded by NJHeart2Heart

I took another photowalk around the area of my office Friday, Sept. 21. This time I ran across a busy road to the office building on the other side. There were two huge “butterfly” bushes, and true to their name, there were many many butterflies flitting around. How awesome it was to be able to stand there so close to them, with them flitting around my head! This pic was particularly nice. The play of light added to the presentation.

Whale Watch off Campobello Island


Originally uploaded by NJHeart2Heart

We took a whale watch cruise on Sept. 6 2007. It was amazing and something I recommend everyone do. The day was gorgeous, our guide was pleasant, and the whales, finbacks to be exact, were -mostly- cooperative. I was amazed that they were “common” in those waters, since it was such a novelty for me. It was around mating season, so we actually wound up following a pair of whales plus a single whale that traveled close to them. Their coordination was awe inspiring- seeing them blow and dive together. Not only the whales but the strong breeze, sun, movement of the boat and other wildlife made it an experience to remember.