Thursday, April 30, 2009

College Decision

The college decision is in our son Nick has officially chosen the school he will attend in the fall.....the winner is Lipscomb University. A top tier southern school in Nashville Tennessee. He plans to major in communications.The location and size of the school was a big draw for Nick, he is still a little hesitant about it being a Christian school where bible classes are mandatory. We are excited for him to live in this great city and experience all that Nashville offers We as parents feel he will be offered a very rounded out education with an emphasis on community service.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mr. Stubborn

There were now two foals and another due in two weeks. Johnny was back in the hospital with breathing problems and chest pains. These hospital visits were starting to get routine. He would go in and be given large does of Lasix (diuretics) to relieve the fluid from his lungs and usually come home in a few days. I kept an eye on the horses and did the feedings.

Artic was still in the barn with her foal, who I called "Go Johnny Roll" (Johnny nickered at that name, but I think he liked it.)
I had never handled the horses other than brushing so I was leery of putting her outside on my own, I was fearful of a runaway foal.

The stud pony was still in residence and I was starting to feel sorry for him all alone in the stall. Even though I was not fond of him I began going into the stall to try to get a lead on him so I could take him outside. It took may attempts and some alfalfa to get close to me. Finally with some patience and a few days later I could walk into the stall and clip a lead on him. I walked him to the grass where he proceeded to mow it instantly. I never saw an animal eat so fast in my life! I put him in the round pen while I fed and then got him back to his stall as easily as I got him out. We now had an understanding the little stud and I and I started to like him.

About 4-5 days later Johnny came home. I was in the barn when he got home and he was not looking or feeling good. I was mucking Artic's stall when Johnny came in and he started to go empty the wheelbarrow I was using, all the while vomiting. Johnny is not a man you tell what to do, but I had to say something. He did not like to see me doing all the work he should be able to do and I knew this was an issue with him. I put my foot down and told him to get in the house and lay down. I went in with him to convince him to eat some crackers. He told me of his plans to go to Lexington the next day so he could have Artic bread back on her foal heat, there was no talking him out of it. Like I said he is stubborn! I tried to convince him to call his son or a friend to go with him, he promised he would. If I could have driven his truck with the trailer I would have went, but that to me was like driving a semi.

I was at the barn the next day when he himself! Mr. Stubborn did not ask anyone for help and went alone. He was no friend to himself, he was doing things he should not have been doing. His health was deterioating and he still had not gotten on the "List" at Vanderbilt for his new heart. I continued to do what I could for Johnny, I tried to get things done before he attempted to do them.

Lady Gelaine was moved up to the front paddock as she was approcaching her due date, this would be her first foal, another baby yeah!

Flea Market Find

hat a wonderful find this antique necklace was! I was at the Nashville Flea market on Friday and was rummaging through some boxes and discovered this amongst the mess. I had to have it! I removed the fake pearls that were between the filigree caps and black beads, (I do not "do" fake pearls) and cleaned everything up. The pearls were replaced with the faceted turquoise glass beads you see now. I think that color adds a nice kick with the black. A hook was forged from brass for a new and modern closure.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Artic's Foal

It was still dark and raining when the phone rang, I glance at the time and it was 6:30 am. I knew it was Johnny calling. Artic had her foal...I told him I would be right there. Ed did not come with me, I threw on my clothes and off I went. Johnny was in the barn when I got there. He said when he came out the foal was there and was already dry. The foal was a colt and just so pretty, with the most beautiful coat of fur . Artic was uncomfortable so Johnny gave her some medication and that seemed to help her. The foal was tall and was having a hard time trying to nurse, he could not bend his head down enough to get under Artics belly. Artic was a skilled mother as she corralled him towards her, it was amazing to watch. My only other experience was with Salina's first foal (mine too) and there was a huge difference with this experience mother. However all her attempts were futile, the foal could not get in to nurse. Johnny was getting very nervous. He was sitting on a bucket at the stall door, he was not feeling well and his breathing was difficult. He would go into the stall and move the foal to the mare and try to position him to nurse, milk was dripping everywhere but the foal could not get his head tilted enough. The foal was getting tired as was Johnny. I tried the same several times and was so surprised to see how difficult it was to move this nearly 100 lb baby. He did not want to call the vet, but if the foal did not nurse soon he would, and they would have to put a feeding tube into the foals belly to feed him. I asked Johnny if he had formula and a bottle, he said he did and went into the house to get it,(my newborn nursery skills were kicking in). He tried the bottle on the foal but he would not suckle. I waited a bit and went in the stall to give it a try myself. I first tested his suck with my finger. The foal had a strong suck so that was a good sign, he was not weak just stubborn. I then put the nipple in his mouth and tilted it towards the palette and then he sucked. This was good, now he could rest and then we could try again. I kept repeating the process until I finally got that foal to nurse....and wow that was amazing! I spent at least 2 hours on my knees in that stall that morning. I know Johnny felt helpless, he just physically could not help. The sleeves of my denim shirt were soaked from holding the mares engorged breasts and the foals face. Finally when we left the barn Johnny thanked me and said "I do not know what I would have done without you". He is not much on sentiments so that was a lot coming from this tough cowboy.

I now knew why I walked into his yard a year ago, why I was sent there and why I was drawn there. He needed me and I needed to be there.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Year Later...

As I continue to tell my story I can not believe it is exactly a year later. It feels like yesterday...and I wish it was.

Mr. Hunt came to visit Johnny and stayed for a few days. Mr.Hunt was Johnny's partner. Ed and I got to visit with him while he was there. Johnny invited us in and it was funny to hear them banter about the horses and whose silks were whose., there was quite an age difference between the two of them. Mr. Hunt was in his 80's, it was hard to believe he was that old, he traveled so much and was so active with his farm in Ohio. Lady Gelaine had been Mr. Hunts horse and was named after his wife who had passed away. I let him know how much I adored that horse. Johnny did not care for her at all, as she took a few years to get in foal and when she did it was with twins and he would have to have one pinched off for one to survive. Mr. Hunt was thrilled with Salinas foal and anxious about Artic's new foal, as the sire they used had been producing a lot of good horses that were doing well racing.

Johnny moved Artic Roll up to the front paddock as she neared her delivery date. As you remember from my first post she is the horse that drew me to the farm almost a year ago. I started to give her the "mother to be" treatment and she loved it. She more than any of the other horses just loved to be groomed. She would drop her head so low, almost past my knees ( I am only 5 ft.2). I could get her in a trance in a heartbeat. I had the power, she was dark chestnut and I had her gleaming. I took pride in the fact that I transformed her. My new plan was to make sure when she went on her little trip to Lexington on her foal heat that she was going to look perfect.

I had hoped she would deliver on the Derby again, but it came and went.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Collections...we all seem to have something we covet. Figurines, baskets , dolls from our childhood or hand painted plates... Whatever it is, if you have a few of the same then you are a collector. Me, I collect several different things, but I am at the point where I have enough and if I add to the collection I will now trade out something that's not so great as not to be over run with one thing . I am a "neat" collector and everything has it's place. I love antique and vintage handpainted tole trays, I have these hanging in my keeping room off the kitchen. I love antique door knobs, the mercury glass ones are my favorite and hard to find, I display the knobs in a glass bowl in my dinning room. Early American pattern glass cake stands are also a favorite, these are stacked from largest to smallest on the buffet in the dinning room, and these I use whenever I can. I adore English transferware and right now I collect brown and white.
Antique wicker demi johns are another favorite of mine, these are very old bottles that have wicker woven around them, most of my bottles date to the late 1800's. I suppose I do collect lots of items just not in huge quantities, I like my collections to make a statement.

Are you a collector? You know you are....
What do you collect and why?
What was the first collection you started?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The List

I was at the farm visiting one day when Johnny came out to chat. He loved to talk and most times he would would bend down on one knee instead of standing. His breathing was often labored and this was about the time I learned that he may need a heart transplant. I was shocked to say the least, I really did not know his condition was deteriorating so badly. He never complained and never asked me to do much. I just did it, because I could and I was there. He told me he had to have a lot of testing done before he got on the "List" at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Johnny was planning on taking Salina up to Lexington Ky. on her foal heat to be breed back. He worked hard to pick the studs out and had a book of all of the prospects. I checked in on Bucky that day and he did fine without his Mom.

In the next few weeks I would take care of the horses often as Johnny had overnight tests and or went to the hospital because he was having a hard time breathing. I would later learn he was in congestive heart failure, fluid would build up in his lungs, thus making it difficult to breath. I had offered to take him to the hospital many times, I did not like him being alone, but he said he was fine to do so. He had a son who lived about 30 minutes away but he never liked to bother him.

Johnny was a very independent person, liked to do things his way. I was in the stall one day putting down fresh wood shavings and Johnny was talking to me from outside the stall. He came in when I was finished and had to rake it to get it just right, but even that was a big chore for him, he was so out of breath.

One day I showed up and was in the stall mucking when I heard some unusual noises from another stall. I walked down the isle to check it out and I found a funky looking white and grey pony. He was making a racket and was so so funny looking! Johnny had got him to help with the other Mares when they would go into heat. They too would be breed back on their foal heat. I did not get it at first but then I did. Something about that little stud I did not trust, I think it was his very light blue eyes, they looked strange on this little horse, so I stayed away from him. Johnny would bring him out and walk him like a dog, which I thought was funny!

The two other Mares bellies were getting so big. They both were due in May. Artic Roll was due around the Derby again. I couldn't wait for more babies!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lady G

Some things take so long but are worth it in the end. While doing it you always learn something , so its a lesson learned.

This is one of those things....Wire wrapped in brass are Tiger Eye, African Opal and faceted glass beads. Hand wrought brass clasp and pendant dangle. Vintage brass medallion was used as the focal pendant. I am calling this piece "Lady Gelaine".

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


What a darling baby Salina had. He had a wonderful personality and was so friendly. Johnny said he had never seen a friendlier foal. Just one day old and he came right over to the stall door when you approached. I spent as much time as I could at the farm, mostly mucking the stall and loving the new foal. The weather was warming up and the Mare and foal were put in the paddock during the day for some fresh air. When you come up to the fence that little foal would come right over to you, he never lingered around his mother like most do. He would run all over the paddock by himself with his knobby long legs, he was the most independent little colt. I would stand by the fence admiring the colt and Mare, "Go on in" Johnny said to me, referring to the paddock. From then on I would always be in the pasture or the paddock when visiting the horses.

Johnny called and asked me to feed the horses for a few days. He had to go to the hospital overnight for some tests. An over night turned into a few days. I told him I would do what ever he needed and not to worry.

By this time Anymore had been brought to a training farm a few miles up the road. They had a turf track and and an inside exercising ring. John (the jockey/trainer) was training her up at the training farm.

My sisters had come for a visit a few weeks after the colt was born. I could not wait to show him off. One day Ed and my sisters all went to the farm. Johnny was inside, he was not feeling well. I went in to muck the stall and my sister Susan was standing in front of the stall door. I turned around and Susan was gone and right then Salina bolted out of the stall. Susan was walking down the isle and I had to yell to her to get out of the way. Salina was so quick! I quickly shut the gate so the colt could not get out. I grabbed the lead and went running out to the yard after her. She ran right over to the fence of the 10 acre pasture where Artic Roll and Lady Gelaine were. Artic was at the fence line and Celina made noises at her like I have never heard. It sounded like growling, her lips were curled up and she was letting Artic have it. Ed tried to get Salina but could not, she liked her freedom from the stall. Head hanging low I went to Johnny's front door, I just hated to bother him. I told him what happened, he asked if the foal got out. I handed him the lead and out he came in his stocking feet. He got her with no problem and escorted her back to the barn and her foal. He kind of chuckled and told me next time to but the chain up across the stall doorway. I felt awful, but later had a good laugh, just seeing Salina take off was kind of funny.

I started calling the colt "Bucky", it was a goofy name that suited this friendly colt with his furry afro mane.

From The Sea

“Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be fish.”
What a great marriage, an antique brass buckle and antique Victorian fish button. Two 1800's adornments given new life. You can find this piece on Etsy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"We've got a foal!"

I pretty much doted on Salina everyday, I was so excited and nervous about her having her foal. Her belly was so huge and I started to learn about the tell tale signs of delivery. I brushed her everyday and she was ready as far as I was concerned. One day I was in the stall with her and Johnny came in, we talked for a while and I remember telling him how I loved the smell of the horses ( some people would cringe but I know others would surely agree with me), He said to me "oh boy, you're hooked now". Yeah, I was.
Since she was in the stall more I started to help muck her stall and clean up the barn. With Anymore and Salina going in and out there was always something being tracked in. The barn was nothing fancy by any means and could of used some major repairs. I just felt Johnny needed some help and I was more than willing to do whatever I could.

On the morning of March 9th, 2008 my phone rang at 9:30 am and all I heard was "We got a foal" and I replied "Be right there". Ed and I dashed down to the farm so excited. We got there and Johnny was standing outside the stall. He held the door to the stall for me and I peered in so cautiously. The foal was still wet and lying down. Salina looked no worse for the wear and was munching on feed. The huge placenta was lying in the corner. Johnny did not want me to touch the foal yet until Salina bonded with it. He thought it was a filly. I had my camera and took this little video. I love hearing Johnny's voice in it. I remember thinking at the time I was making the video, I wish he would stop talking so much, but now I am so glad to have it. Ed and I stayed there for several hours and then went home. I returned a few hours later to find out that the foal was a colt.I helped Johnny with the placenta as it was too hard for him to pick it up himself. Johnny let me in the stall to pet the new baby and I was instantly in love. His little mane was so soft and looked just like a little afro. Salina had done so well.


Newest listing today on Judith B. Designs. Brass hand stamped and heat treated cross.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Getting Ready

The fall came and went along with the holidays. Johnny turned 63 years old. I visited the horses several times during the week sometimes Johnny came out to chat sometimes not. The mares were getting larger and I started thinking about them having their foals.

Anymore the filly and the colt Derby were put together in one pasture. They had so much fun and Anymore finally had someone to boss around (her friend had left a while ago). All three Mares were in the 10 acre pasture. Artic Roll was the boss, then Lady Gelaine and Salina Star was the one they picked on. Salina was the sweetest by far and surprising the most aggressive at the track .She always hung her head low and had such a defeated look to her. If I gave her more attention then Lady came to push her away, Lady would get so jealous. Artic really could care less unless there was food involved. Salina sometimes had bite marks on her back end from the other two Mares. I had to set Johnny straight about the pecking order as he got it wrong, I was really getting to know these mares and just loved them.

Johnny had started to work with Anymore in the round pen but would get so out of breath and had a hard time doing it on a regular basis. She would be put in the stall at night and he would take her out during the day if he felt he could. This is about the time I really started noticing he was not feeling well. He had had an abdominal aneurysm a few years back and had a pacemaker. The seriousness of the roof fall was starting to take its toll. He was often out of breath just hauling water or feed.

Johnny had to hire someone to help train Anymore. He had a friend John that who use to jockey for him. John was quite a character, all 4 feet plus. I tried to visit on the afternoons when John came so I could watch Anymore train, I found it very interesting. Johnny said she was the type of horse that would run the race before getting out of the stall. She was spirited!

Salina Star was the first mare due in March, this would be her first foal. Johnny moved her to the paddock to watch her closer and get her off of eating grass, too much would cause a thick placenta. She started to shed out and was starting to look a little rough. I told Johnny I wanted to brush her. I never brushed a horse before nor had I been in the pasture or stall with one yet, I could not have her deliver looking like that. Being a former obstetrics nurse I knew a little something about expectant mothers, I knew she needed some special care. Johnny put Salina in the round pen and in I went, although very cautious.With the shedding blade in hand I started slowly below her mane she seemed to like it so I continued. I was wearing a fleece and was quickly coated with hair, I did not care....I had been dying to do this. Johnny came in with some grain for her and started brushing her back side and tail. To me the tail looked dangerous, being right behind her legs.
The sun was shining and it was such an enjoyable thing to do. I gradually moved around her and slowly got use to being next to this ginormous animal. She was content and so was I.

to be continued....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beach Music

hrysoprase beads are wire wrapped with copper and linked to hammered bronze circles. I hand forged and wire wrapped a copper clasp. A little copper disk was hand stamped with "Peace" and a wire wrapped glass bead added for a dangle. I love the color of the Chrysoprase it reminds me of the deep Caribbean water and the sounds of the sea.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Nick!

Today is our son Nick's eighteenth birthday and he is going to the prom tonight. That is a nice celebration for your eighteenth birthday.

Where did all the time go? Nick is our only child and his birthday has always been like a major holiday for us, a day filled with wonderful memories. I would go back to the terrible two's just to hold him on my lap again. He has been a great son and has grown up to be wonderful man.


This is a continuation of stories below.....

Johnny talked to Ed and I like we knew what he was talking about, all the famous horses names, who's who's daddie, purses won, etc..etc.. and always so enthusiastically it was contagious. I learned why the horses are breed back right away after delivery and that a horses gestation is 345 days, all I could say is OMG!

I started to visit the other horses as well and would pet them and give them treats. "Anymore" was very spunky and I received several bites from her. She loved for you to play with her and I know Ed and I looked liked fools running the fence line and her following. Derby was growing and so were his teeth, he was a bitter and anytime you got close to him he took a nibble.

I had a girlfriend visiting me for a week and brought her to Johnny's to see the horses, he did not come out but I did not think anything of it. The house seemed too quite, I did not hear his little dog or anything. A few days later passing by his house I saw different cars in his driveway. One evening we went up to see the horses and someone was there mowing the lawn. His neighbor Olivia told us Johnny was in the hospital. He had been repairing his roof and fell off, broke his pelvis had a concussion and a small brain bleed. A neighbor saw him lying in the yard and called for help. I remember calling him at the hospital that evening, but was not sure if he knew who I was. We came up every evening and helped Olivia feed and water. Johnny returned home about a month later. His friend Julie came to stay with him and help take care of him. He had to use a wheelchair because of the fractured hip, he was not a good patient! He did not like to be told what to do and was extremely stubborn. Julie was also a horse trainer so she looked after the horses too. I think Johnny lasted about a week in that wheelchair and was out mending fences sitting in a lawn chair the next week. It took him a little while but he really did bounce back pretty good, although it took more of a toll than I knew at the time.

During this time "Derby" was being weened. Since Artic was in foal again the nursing colt would start depleting what the Mare needed for the foal within. Since Julie was still in residence she started working with Derby in the stall with leading and such. I always loved to watch my favorite colt and was proud of his little accomplishments.

.....more to come

Friday, April 17, 2009

See what happens when you sleep around

It is always the kids that suffer!
Darling little Zonkey baby.

I could not resist sharing this, I received this in an email today. Not sure if its a product of Photo shop or not, but it sure is cute!

Tell me I was dreaming...

There is a country song by Travis Tritt "Tell me I was dreaming" that I just love. When I finished this piece that was what came to mind. The soft colors remind me of a dream.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Filigree pretties....



I hope you have read the post below first as this is a continuation of that story. You need to know that I am very friendly outgoing person but surely not the type to just go into a strangers yard as I did with Johnny, and did this sometimes twice a day. I would not realize why I felt drawn to this place until almost a year later.

he colt that brought me to Johnny's fence was born on the day of the Kentucky Derby so I started calling him "Derby". On the day I met Johnny I learned that he raised Thoroughbreds and was a trainer and that the colt's mother's name was Artic Roll. Derby would later be named "Set to Roll".

I was so enamored with this little colt and visited him daily, my husband Ed would often come with me. About a week later I went up to Johnny's door( here we go being bold again)... to ask if it was alright if I gave Artic some carrots. All I knew is that horses liked carrots and I wanted her to like me too. Johnny said sure and reached into his pocket and pulled out a red and white peppermint candy and told me to give her that. Artic and her colt were in the barn and Johnny said go on in and told me I could go into the stall. Sure I wanted to be next to that little colt but I didn't even know how to open the stall door forget standing next to his big Momma. Maybe another time. The peppermint was a hit needless to say, I had a new friend in Artic. I of course purchased these by the pound and would always have some in my pockets when I stopped to visit

I could not believe how quickly the colt was growing, running along side his mother with his wobbly legs. He was finally warming up to me and I could reach in through the fence to touch his velvety fur. I know this will sound stupid, but I also learned (oh, please do not laugh hysterically) that horses are not like cows and only have two nipples. I thought this was a funny sight.

Sometimes Johnny would come out to see me when I was at the fence, he told me to park in his driveway so my car would not be on the road. Johnny loved to talk...oh boy did he ever! He was 62 years old and had some serious health issues that prohibited him from riding anymore. I started learning about horse racing, or tried to anyway. His passion was so great he loved to share his stories. One evening he invited Ed and I in to see his photo albums of his racing wins. We also learned he had a partner, "Mr Hunt". A much older gentlemen that lived in Ohio. He sounded important. This was a whole new world for us and I found every word so interesting.

I also learned all the other horses names. He had two brood mares that where in foal, Salinas Star and Lady Gelaine. Artic Roll was going to Lexington to be breed on the foal "heat"(poor thing, no rest for this mother) He had another yearling that was called "Anymore" he was going to start training shortly. Anymore had a "friend" that was visiting to keep her company and it was so much fun watching those two in the pasture. So at this time there were 5 horses and the colt. be contined.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How I met Johnny....

Many of you have wondered if the pictures of the horses are mine or not. They do not belong to me but I was their part-time/full time care giver for about a year. This is my story...

We moved to middle Tennessee 2 years and 10 months ago from Massachusetts. My husband's job transferred us here. We have never lived anywhere else but in New England, both of us raised in Connecticut and had been living in Massachusetts most of our married life. We took this move as an adventure, and it certainly has been that.

I feel in love with the Tennessee landscape of cattle, donkeys and horses. I just love animals so to see them in my landscapes everywhere I went was so joyful for me. I look out my back deck and I see horses and hear them in the distance. I have never been around horses except for holding my son on a pony for a ride, that's really it.

When I leave my neighborhood you pull out on to a main road, this road is full of many small farms, some have sheep, cattle and mostly horses. A few miles from my house there is one farm in particular that I always admired when I passed because there were baby horses in the pasture with their Moms, and I just love anything "baby". The home is simple and surrounded by 14 acres of horse fencing. This went on for a year, always looking in the direction of the simple farm as I drove by. I then started noticing a very large horse in this pasture and it kept getting bigger with each week. I finally said to my husband that I have seen the largest horse ever or thought maybe it was pregnant, so he too watched when he would drive to work. One day he came home and told me she had her baby. Right away I wanted to go and see and off we went. We pulled of the main road and parked on the side street next to the house. I jumped out and went right over to the fence to see this new little baby. My first thought was that it was dead, so still, it was just lying in the dirt on this warm May afternoon. I soon saw the rise of it's chest and was relieved. For the next 2 days I would stop once or twice and stand by the fence, sometimes the baby was lying down sometimes standing up. On the third day a man was outside on a riding lawn mover he then approached me and introduced himself as "Johnny Baggett" and told me this was his home and these were indeed his horses. We talked for at least an hour and I learned so much about this man in this short time. He welcomed me to come and visit anytime and to go down to the barn and get in the shade if I wanted. I also learned that the baby was called a foal or more correctly a "colt", new horse lingo for me. I fell in love....

I will continue this at another posting as I have so much to say....

Dance in the rain...

I love this saying...a few weeks ago we put it on the wall in my studio above my work table. I hope we all can learn to dance.
It looks like it is going to rain today!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Buttons and more buttons....

Antique Button Dangle Necklace

I finally had a thought of what to do with some of my buttons, something that would highlight their beauty. I created this button dangle pendant using Victorian brass buttons, most are embossed and steel cut. I added some vintage faceted jet beads just for some bling. A simple collection of old watch fob chains is the finishing touch. I love the simpleness of this piece and the classic style. This piece is available on my website Judith B. Designs