January 2023 Garden Update … Hosted by Bruiser!

It’s mid-January and the garden is beginning to wind down. As the days are getting longer, plants are beginning to go to seed…Chinese cabbage, collards, in particular.

However…hints of Spring are already showing up…the little buds of the Autumn Joy sedums are beginning to peak through!

Here’s the video tour that is also posted on Youtube on my Secretariat Girl channel.

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WINX IS A MUM!!

After losing her first foal by Invicible in 2020, racing fans have been waiting with a bit of trepidation during the course of Winx’s second pregnancy by Pierro, a son of top Australian sire Lonhro.

Although the birth was overdue, Winx and daughter are both healthy!

Trainer Chris Waller visits Winx and her newborn filly!

According to Australian racing site Racenet.com, rain had been falling heavily all week in the Hunter Valley where Winx has been living at an undisclosed location but stopped at around 10:00 shortly before the foal was born. Remaining owners Peter Tighe and Debbie Kepitis rushed to witness the birth which occurred at 10:40 PM AEDT, October 7, 2022 (7:40 AM Eastern Daylight Time). Her trainer, Chris Waller, who recently was a guest at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, left track work at Rosehill to visit Winx and her new offspring. The new foal stood up within 15 minutes!

Winx won 37 of her 43 starts including her final 33 races in succession, culminating with her famous win in her final race, the 2019 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick. The magnificent new Winx Stand at Randwick was officially opened on December 2, 2021.

This story from the The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia) recaps the career of the “Mighty Mare” and details the amazing space created in her honor. It even has a bar named after Happy Clapper, who could never beat her…but went on to win major races…after she retired. (Click on the headline to read the full piece.)


Royal Randwick’s new Winx Stand will enhance the race day experience for the general public

March 28, 2022 – 4:44PM News Corp Australia

Named for one of the all-time greats at the sight of many of her memorable wins, the Winx Stand give racing fans an experience not to be missed.


CONGRATULATIONS, WINX!

To read about Winx’s retirement and see the full version of this poem I composed on April 13, 2019, click here.

She walked on the sand and gazed out at the sea
She faced infinity before her, felt the waves at her feet
She arrived at the course time after time
With the sea in her heart, she skimmed the ground
The waves of sound from the stands filled her soul
A sea of emotions carried her on
…She gazed at infinity, she brought us along….

Thank you, Winx

A Look at My Southern New Mexico Winter Garden–December 12, 2021

This video is also up at Youtube!

Winter gardening in Southern New Mexico is my favorite type of gardening! I eat all winter out of the garden…and beyond…

My Miracle Dog…

This a re-post of a piece I wrote many years ago about a special dog I rescued from the street on a cold November day. Slick passed away on August 9, 2016 after fighting a mast cell tumor for about two years. He was close to 15 years old. He had a long period of remission, but finally age and a possible return of the cancer forced me to say goodbye. I think about him every day, along with my two other dogs, Toro and Tico. Toro passed at 13 from a mast cell tumor on August 8, 2012 and Tico died of old age on December 23, 2017 at 16.


Today, A Stress-Free Post! What Could Be Better Than a TRUE Story About a November MIRACLE DOG!! (With Pics)

Posted on November 4, 2008 by insightanalytical

Let me take you back EXACTLY 6 years ago to November 4, 2002.  It was the day before Election Day that year, an off-year, of course, from Presidential politics.  The weather here in Southern New Mexico had been getting very cold at night for a few weeks.  It was the time for everyone to start getting cozy as the sun set. It became a very special day….

Toro and Tico, both chihuahuas,  were happily ruling the roost here. We had adopted Tico in February of 2002 as a companion for Toro, who had come with us from New Jersey to New Mexico a couple of years before. Everything was proceeding nicely, except for one thing.

I had had back surgery two years before in 2000 and had spent Thanksgiving in the hospital. It went smoothly, but recovery was slow.  Two years later in October 2002, I was still in severe pain, drugged to the gills, hardly moving and depressed.

Over the summer my mother, who was doing the dog walking, started talking about a little black dog that was roaming the neighborhood.  As I tried to walk down the block, I would run into neighbors who also reported on the little dog.  One woman told me she thought he slept on a house porch on another street…that turned out to be untrue.  Another woman told me he would drink from her bird bath. Yet another neighbor told me he was in his garage sitting on a stool cleaning his car wheels when the dog came into the garage. The man reached for him and fell off the stool…and the little dog ran off.

The reports kept coming. Finally, I called Animal Control, only to be told that they had been trying to catch the little guy for 8 months. Cages, traps…they couldn’t get him. Doing the math that October, I figured he had been “on the road” since February. That means he had been without a home through the cold spring, the extremely hot summer, and now was heading into another season of cold nights.

He was seen in the arroyo, near the highway and under cars.  In fact, a man a block away told me he was sleeping some nights under his mothballed Corvette.  New construction was starting next door to our house and I began seeing him resting underneath the construction trailer. Occasionally, I saw him with other strays, but he was usually alone.

One day as we were driving out of the development I saw a man sitting on an electrical box with a big dog biscuit in his hand.  I stopped the car and asked him what was going on.  He told me that he was trying to feed the little dog. Just then, at the corner, we saw him. He was licking the sidewalk. He ran off when I approached the spot…and I saw that he had been licking a smashed egg that had dried. Then, a few days later, my mother saw him in the middle of the main street out of the development in the morning during the rush hour…he appeared confused and cars had stopped but he managed to escape unharmed.

Something snapped right then. I knew I couldn’t let this little guy continue like this. It was getting bitterly cold at night as we headed into the last couple of weeks of October. My mother said he was limping.  I was afraid a coyote would catch him if he were down in the arroyo. Something had to be done. He actually began trailing after my mother and our two clannish chis, who took an immediate dislike to him!

I noticed that he seemed to come down our street in the morning and the late afternoon. I got some food and water and put it down near our front wall that was next to the lot next to us where the new house was going up.  That was in the morning. It was gone almost immediately.

I then moved the food and water bowls to the end of our driveway. And then a short way up the side of the driveway.  He’d come again by around 4 P.M. every day. I got into the routine of getting up early and putting out the food in the morning at around 6 A.M.  Sometimes he’d come down the street from the direction of the arroyo around that time and would eat. Other times he would come from the opposite direction, from the  main road.

This went on for about a week. Then, I started opening the garage door and placing the food just outside the lip of the garage.  Sometimes I’d leave a treat.  One day I left tuna fish in the morning. He ate it, but when I left it in the afternoon, he skipped it. Not a tuna fan, apparently!

After a few days, I set up a folding chair. I put the food down outside the garage, but sat in the chair.  He was tentative, but he was hungry, so he ate but he left immediately.  Then, he got to the point where he ate but would take a treat and bury it across the street.  Then he started sitting in the driveway in the sun for awhile.  All this time I sat quietly and talked to him.

When he wanted more, he would stand by the dish. I calmly got up and went inside and brought out more food.  He would dart away, but return and eat.

One morning I didn’t see him around. Worried, I got myself down to the corner and called, “Sweet-ie”!  Down the hill he came and he followed me home.   This became a ritual over the next few days. One day, he didn’t return at 4 P.M. and I was worried that something had happened to him.  Not only was he limping, but I could see that he had patches on his coat. He seemed tired and run down.  I thought he was ready to get picked up.

By this time I had moved the food bowls into the garage a few feet away from where I sat.  On Saturday, November 2, I moved the bowl right next to me.  He ate without a problem.  But the next day, he didn’t show up in the morning and I was panicked.  Had I waited too long? Had he wanted me to pick him up but had given up on me because I hadn’t moved then? Was he hurt? Or worse?

On Monday, November 4, I set up the chair and the food and went down to the corner. I called “Sweet-tie” but he didn’t come! Upset, I turned to go home…and there he was , coming toward me down the sidewalk from the other direction!

I sat in the chair, and he came up right next to me.  Before he took a bite, I quickly scooped him up and ran into the house! I had set up a baby gate so that he would stay in the kitchen. Toro and Tico, the clannish chihuahuas, were going nuts.  The little black dog jumped over the gate and promptly deposited a gift under the piano bench.  I put a halter on him and put him outside and he immediately went over the wall! I fished him up and knew I couldn’t take my eyes off him for a second!

Things settled down as I took him for a walk. He did fine. And then we came home and he went to sleep on the couch. That night and for several nights after, he howled at the back door. But during the day he slept like he hadn’t slept in a long while.  He was under the covers, warm, well-fed and safe.

I scheduled a vet appointment to have his limp and skin checked out. In the meantime, I called the no-kill shelter, Safe Haven, but they had no room for him.  A man in the neighborhood who had tried to catch him once and failed said he wanted him…but he went out to work every day. I couldn’t see the little guy thrown into a yard…he’d get away somehow.  And I refused to bring him to the shelter because I figured he’d be adopted…but would wind up roaming again! He could jump any wall and walk it with ease!

I wasn’t really sure what he was, but the vet confirmed he was a fairly big miniature pinscher!  His limp was going to be fine and we got started on clearing up his skin.  The vet thought he was about a year old.  Still not sure what to do with him at the “logical” level of thinking, I scheduled an appointment to get him fixed.  Of course, by the time he went in for that a week or so later, my heart had made the decision. We were going to keep him!  Toro and Tico weren’t too happy about it, either!

What to name him?  We went through a couple of names until I looked at him and commented that since he had roamed everywhere around the development, he was really a “city slicker.”  The name stuck–from then on he was SLICKER (Slick for short)!

Then came the problem of walking him! My mother couldn’t handle all three, so I took charge of Slicker. I started to walk, painfully, down the block with him.  At the corner we started getting into some hilliness.  Slick wanted to go there, so we’d go a short distance. Everyday I’d huff and puff a short way up that low grade hill.  Gradually, the huffing and puffing disappeared and my weak leg and back started to get stronger. Soon, I could walk up that hill!!

As I started walking with Slick, my energy came back and I started doing more. Instead of sitting around in pain and depression, I as now getting out and about. My little MIRACLE DOG had restored my interest in life and had started healing me, physically and mentally!

Six years later, Slick and I are celebrating our anniversary together tomorrow, November 4th. No matter what happens on Election Day, we’ll be happy about being together!  Toro and Tico have made an uneasy peace with “the intruder” and Slick has matured into the most loving, appreciative dog one could hope for!

Now, you won’t believe this, but a week or so ago I saw a little black and white dog with something draped around him/her in the street. I stopped the car, but he ran way down the road.  A couple of days ago, a neighbor about a block away told me he had seen the little dog and what he was dragging along was a plastic bag with ties that had been caught on his neck! The little dog probably got tangled up while searching for food in the bag that was set out on garbage day. I’m keeping an eye out to see if he comes this way again…

So what have I done? Yesterday I put out a bowl of water and a bowl of food near the wall at the side of the driveway near the sidewalk. Maybe it’s time for another November miracle…in more ways than one!

****

Slick and Toro, enjoying the sun together

Chasca Aces Her Vet Visit! (September 8, 2021)

Chasca went in for her pre-winter sleep physical on September 8, 2021. She got a full exam and is very healthy!

Heart, weight, lymph nodes, ears, eyes…all in tip top condition!

The vet, Dr. Cook, has tortoises so knows about them as well as desert box turtles like Chasca.

Right now, Chasca is digging around places as she gets ready to disappear until next April or most likely May/early June, 2022.

A report on her day getting ready to go to the vet is up on Youtube now:

I have also posted a short take on a “side trip” she took when we stopped at Best Buy before going home!

The Goddess was a big hit with her admirers…yes, she did observe the COVID measures being taken in the store.

Inspecting the sanitation station at Best Buy…

I can’t believe it’s almost time to leave for the upcoming winter months and the next chilly spring…

Spring 2021: Turtles, the Kentucky Derby and Winx on My Mind

All winter I grew my greens and picked the “bunch of the day.” But it’s been touch and go the last few weeks while waiting for our full warm up…windy, raw, overcast…through it all, I nursed my seedling indoors, hardened them off outside and then started the work of getting them into pots and into the ground.

A few days ago we had a rain and I peeked under the new burrow I had constructed last spring for Chasca, my desert box turtle, and I saw part of the side of her shell glistening..I literally jumped for joy! She’s made it through another winter! Then, she was gone again, back buried under the soil. Turtles will sometimes appear after a rain or even during a warm February day, but Chasca wasn’t ready. Today, I can see her again at the back of her burrow with part of her shell visible! The nighttime temperatures will begin to rise and it won’t be so chilly in the mornings and today’s warmth in the 80’s will bring stability to my favorite reptile. Today is also the first day I saw a “big mama” lizard out, so Chasca will be officially out in the world soon! I can’t wait!

The Kentucky Derby is now in the record books and for once, Mine That Bird was mentioned, even to the extent that there were clips of his 2009 Derby win, his New Mexico people and the trailer they used to drive him to Kentucky.  There were more stories about the horses and the history of the race instead of the endless stream of personalities and cast members of NBC shows who have usually cluttered up the broadcast in the past.

Winx, of course, came to mind when we were told that “turf runners never win going wide” after exactly that happened in one of the turf races on Kentucky Oaks day.  REALLY? Winx ran wide nearly all the time and she won 33 straight times doing it that way on turf!

It’s already two years ago that she ran her last race on April 19, 2019.  She lost her first foal, which was stillborn, in October 2020 and there’s been no news about future breeding plans.  In March, the owner who named her passed away.  Richard Treweeke died at age 90.  As he told the story, “She’s out of Vegas Showgirl and if you have been to Vegas and watched the showgirls, they might flash some skin and the blokes will give them a wink. Try putting that in print!”

Happier Winx news was made when a statue was unveiled at Rosehill Gardens, her home track in early March of 2021. At 110% her actual size, it is situated so that it is the first thing visitors see when the enter the track.

 

Winx with Hugh Bowman in the saddle by Sculptor Tanya Bartlett

While she was racing, she may not have been the most perfect looking thoroughbred.  It’s like her front end is out of balance with her back end. Her backside slopes down.  People who know more than I know said she has terrible feet. 

She didn’t care.  She raced until she was almost 8 years old. She ran. A lot. And she won. A lot.

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The Preakness will be soon, Chasca will be roaming the yard any moment now, and we’ll be looking to see what Winx does next. It’s a good start to Spring 2021!!

Mine That Bird’s Kentucky Derby 10 Year Anniversary Party at Ruidoso Downs…Bird Looking Good in the NM Mountains!

By NM-GRL

On Saturday, July 13, I drove up to Ruidoso Downs to see Mine That Bird. The track appearance was to celebrate his Kentucky Derby victory 10 years ago!  The previous evening Bird was inducted into the Ruidoso Racehorse Hall of Fame.  Bird was making an appearance on behalf of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund to raise funds for this worthy cause.  While Bird is a gelding and can’t produce offspring, he still is out there raising money for charities such as Wounded Warriors, the PDJF, cancer charities, etc.

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I donated to the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund again…this time I got poster but we also go our pictures taken with Bird! I could have gotten a cap but went for the poster since I don’t wear hats, but now I have to find a place for this poster…it is HUGE!!

Three years ago in May, I went up to Roswell to meet Bird at the Double Eagle Ranch. At that time, my friend and I celebrated Bird’s birthday with a card, carrots, and singing “Happy Birthday.”  Dr. Blach, his co-owner and vet, gave us a tour of his office full of memorabilia including the blanket of roses that was draped on Bird’s whithers.  At the track, I reconnected with Dr. Blach, and also met co-owner Mark Allen for the first time.

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Bird looks INCREDIBLE, almost better than when I saw him 3 years ago in May.  He is now 13 years old!  He was so patient, standing for 1 1/2 hours to have pictures taken.  I got some great ones as I hung around.  I got to stroke his nose and look into his eyes and talk sweetly to him. I am in LOVE! Many people came very long distances, out of state to stay a few days just to meet him!

Then I had my poster signed (Mark actually did include my name and started to sing GLORIA, that old song spelling it out!)

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Dr. B was wearing his Derby ring so I was able to take a picture of that close-up. Nice chunk of gold, there!

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Dr. B also did a little Q and A ….I found out that Bird eats rolled oats 2x a day and alfalfa for roughage.  He is no longer going out for trail rides;  he is just hanging out with a small pony for company.  He said that most of the events in the movie “50 to 1” were actually true…the problem with getting the license, the pre-race party…hanging in the  tap room because they were basically ignored…He did talk about how jockey Calvin Borel really hit that rail (I have recently seen a photo showing the paint dust flying off!) and he said that while Calvin spotted the hole, it is true that Bird, who is VERY SMART, picked up on it and knew exactly what to do!

Between races 5 and 6, Bird and Mark Allen paraded to the cheers of the big crowd.

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Then, he exited the track to go home to Roswell, about 2 hours away….

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As I was waiting to meet Bird again, I had a nice chat with a trainer who looked exactly like a cowboy…grizzled face, black hat, with a slow drawl.  He was there to run his 8-year-old mare named No Mires a La Luna ( Translation: Do Not Look at the Moon) who came in second in race 2) and he said he considers his horses to be his babies. When they are born, he immediately hugs them close and from then on, they have little fear. He said after they retire, they become cattle horses….they are quarter horses, built for that sort of thing!

The first races were quarter horse trial races (440 yards) which were then followed by thoroughbred races of 5 or 5.5 furlongs …..a great combination for a fun day!

Here at Ruidoso Downs, our lead ponies definitely do not look like what you see at Churchill Downs or Ascot!

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But we do have glorious scenery and delightful weather, about 20 degrees cooler than where I live 3,000 feet lower in the desert…

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It’s a 226 mile round trip up to Ruidoso from my house, but it’s a gorgeous ride up from the desert floor up into the cool mountains.  Can’t wait to go up again!

 

 

 

WINX…THE MIGHTY MARE RETIRES WITH 33 CONSECUTIVE WINS

By NM-GRL…

Winx after Cox Plate 2018 after swim

Winx at the ocean Put on a show girl on more day

WINX by NM-GRL

She walked on the sand and gazed out at the sea
She faced infinity before her, felt the waves at her feet
She arrived at the course time after time
With the sea in her heart, she skimmed the ground
The waves of sound from the stands filled her soul
A sea of emotions carried her on
…She gazed at infinity, she brought us along….

Thank you, Winx

**********************************************************

In 1973, the times were dark.  Then came along a horse named Secretariat, who lifted the nation’s spirits.

George Plimpton commented at the time:  “He was the only honest thing in the country at the time, this huge magnificent animal that wasn’t tied up in scandal and money.”

As others said:  “Secretariat restored our faith in humanity.”

We have just witnessed the last race of Winx, the Australian super mare.  The statistics are easy to find, but she also has given us light during difficult times.

It is fitting that the 2018 Vox Populi Award, which was created by Secretariat’s owner, the late Penny Chenery,  was awarded to Winx.  This award “annually recognizes the horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the general public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing. Winx was the top choice among U.S. voters as well as international fans representing a record 60 countries.”

She never raced here, but she touched the hearts of legions of fans who stayed up late many Friday nights to see her race on all those Saturday afternoons in Australia.

She retired sound, strong, and at her peak …You could say that she also had  “TWICE THE HEART….”

Born September 14, 2011; Retired at 7 + sound;  NO MEDICATIONS

Final Race: April 13, 2019 at Royal Randwick, Sydney, Australia

See:

Winx wins like a queen to complete career that was so much more than numbers

Youtube:  Winx Farewell Race – 2019 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Weekend King Racing…     Full Race Coverage/Telecast from Channel 7 pre-and post-race

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Visit www.secretariat.com

https://twitter.com/winx_horse

http://winxhorse.com.au/

https://twitter.com/DKepitis

https://www.facebook.com/pg/winxchriswallerracing/posts/

January 20, 2019 Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse…from Southern New Mexico

By NM-GRL

We were lucky down here in my neck of the woods in southern New Mexico.  I don’t have a tripod but I have a porch with a convenient post that I could lean on.  It was cold…like dry heat, there is dry cold and when you’re at 4600+ feet above sea level, that cold is biting even though it may be in the high 40’s.

I caught the start, the peak, and the move out from totality..Top right is entry, bottom right is exit…Enjoy!