Friday, August 12, 2011

Day Tripping The Leelanau

Black Star Farms mansion
My daughter is visiting this week, and for the past two days we have been out gallery hopping. On Tuesday we went up M22 on the Leelanau peninsula to Suttons Bay and beyond. 

First we stopped at Black Star Farms and had lunch at the Hearth and Vine cafe which is well known for its scrumptious pizzas. I knew of this farm before it became Black Star because it formerly was a boarding and training facility. There are still horses boarded there and naturally I had to check out the barn and the horses. We peeked into the old barn and visited a few horses including a huge warmblood who appeared to be on stall rest. He must have been close to eighteen hands tall!   

Next we drove into the village of Suttons Bay and visited four galleries. I was most impressed by Treeline Gallery which has an excellent selection of art by many local artists and others in a cheerful, well lit environment. The owner was also very personable, friendly and enthusiastic about her artists. 

From Suttons Bay, we continued north to Tandem Ciders where Tina bought two bottles of excellent hard cider. That was her goal for the day. 
Suttons Bay park

On our way back down M 22 toward Traverse City we stopped at Gallery 22 which is a co op gallery. It has a very nice mixture of paintings, jewelry, glasswork and other artisan works. When the owner found out that I was an equine artist, she expressed interest in my work and gave me an application for participation. Whether anything comes of this is yet unknown, but it's definitely an exciting prospect. 

Yesterday Tina and I made our way down Front St. in Traverse City, feeling very much like "fudgies", the local term for summer visitors who tend to buy fudge. Meandering down Front St., we checked out many shops including the excellent Horizon Books, Evergreen Gallery, Spice Merchant and Art And Soul Gallery. 

Our next destination was Building 50 in the Grand Traverse Commons. Formerly a state mental hospital, this beautiful old building was built in 1885 and is in the process of being repaired and renovated into shops and living facilities. We checked out Gallery 50, a few shops and Black Star Farms tasting room where Tina got some wine. 

On the way home, we drove up US 31 north to a farm stand and got some fresh corn, tomatoes and the last of the sweet cherries. We ate the corn when we got home, and it was delicious!

Every time I visit galleries I feel twinges of envy of the artists who are in them. And I think to myself either, "I'll never be good enough to get in this gallery" or "I could do work as good as this if I just devoted more time to painting again!" 

Last night I had a hard time getting to sleep because I was still excited from all we had done over two days of day tripping, and my brain was on stimulus overload. Clearly, I don't get out enough. Tina's visit has been just what I needed to shake up my complacent world and get me moving in new directions. 

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back In The Saddle

Scottie's Abscess

Last night we went on our first trail ride in six weeks, and it felt awfully good.  Ive been going to the barn but just not riding much. Between the awful heat and humidity weve been having and then Scotties lump issue, I havent ridden in almost a month. 

Three weeks ago, Scottie developed a lump on the lower edge of his jaw that sprouted almost overnight. It was hard and as large as my fist, and I suspected a tooth abscess, especially since hed had a lump in the same spot a year ago that wasnt nearly as big. The vet was called, and she concurred. We arranged for an equine dentist to come out this past Friday to do something about the tooth and see what else may be going on. 

In the meantime, I went to the barn twice daily to apply hot compresses to his cheek, and Scottie was put on antibiotics. The vet had tried to lance the abscess with an 18 gauge needle, but it only drained a llittle bit and then closed up. The following night, I brought along my husband the human dentist. With a small scalpel, he cut into the cheek tissue and got it to drain a little more. To our amazement, Scottie stood perfectly still for this procedure and only gave a small flinch at the first cut. After that the lump began to go down ever so slightly and has continued to drain. 

Scottie had not been seen by an equine dentist in over ten years. I depended on the clinic vet who does the Spring checkups and shots to let me know if he needed anything more than a routine float and she hadnt. Up here in the hinterlands of Michigan, we dont have a lot of equine specialists and no equine dentists, so we had to call one to come from downstate. As luck would have it, he was here for the week, so we got him to squeeze Scottie into his schedule. 

I was very impressed with Steve Shaver of Equine Dental Services. He espouses a natural horsemanship approach to equine dentistry and doesnt have horses sedated unless theyre particularly afraid and unruly. Scottie was neither, even though the vet came along just in case. 

An examination of Scotties mouth revealed that he had no abscessed tooth. In fact, his teeth are in excellent condition for his age (26), but the molars did have sharp points on them from uneven wear, and they had worn a sore on the other cheek. Working quietly and gently, Steve floated Scotties teeth, removed a hook on a front incisor and removed tartar from his canines.  Scottie was an excellent patient and even seemed to appreciate the treatment to alleviate his mouth problems. 

Another view. I clipped him a few weeks ago to make him cooler so he looks a little wierd
My husband came along, and the two dentists chatted and compared equine to human treatments and kept the vet and I entertained. My husband was especially interested in the  oversized equine dental tools and remarked that Scottie was a far better patient than some of his own and that his mouth smelled a lot better, too. We got to stick our arms in Scottie's mouth to feel his teeth which was kind of awesome. 

In the end, the dentists assessment was that Scottie may have bitten his cheek which caused a piece of hay to be imbedded into the cheek tissue which led to the abscess.  It seems to be resolving now, and we are resuming normal activities. 

While Scottie had that lump and a possible abscessed tooth, I didnt have the heart to put a bridle on his cheek and a bit in his mouth. But last night I decided it was time to get back to riding. Ann, Kathy and I went out on a lovely trail ride on an evening that was very comfortable. Since we stayed in the woods, the flies werent bad at all.  In order to stay in the woods we had to go down the steep hill, and although I could tell Scottie was stiff and sore in the hind end, he trucked down that hill with relative enthusiasm, only stopping now and then to grab a mouthful of leaves. He was obviously enjoying the trail ride as much as I was. We stayed out until almost dark, coming back up that steep hill to the barn, resting every so often, and Scottie was in good shape when we got back. 

Ahh, its good to be back in the saddle again!

PS Be sure to watch Steve's video!