Thursday, November 28, 2013

Christmas By New York Window, 2013

Tis the Season for the Unveiling of the Christmas "Holiday on Ice" Windows at 5th and 58th as Bergdorf Goodman Always Captures my Heart as a Veritable Vacation into My Own Imagination.

The Horse this Year Belongs in the 4th of July Tribute, Featuring Rodarte and Thom Browne NY Men's Fashion.

April Fool's Day Features a Garden Party with Animal Topiaries Just Beyond the Iced Gate, with its Hostess in Oscar de la Renta in a Topsy-Turvy World.

The Vanderbilt House Once Stood on the Same Site as Bergdorf Goodman, and is the Backdrop of the Gothic Halloween Masquerade Party Set Behind a Beautifully Woven Spider Web Dripping with Twinkling Swarovski Crystals.

Arbor Day!  A Fine Celebration in an Almost Tree-Less Setting, Features a Ten-Foot Porcelain Tree Adorned in Crystal Leaves and Flowers.  Perched on an Icy Branch is a Lovely Lady in Alexander McQueen.

Lest We Not Forget Valentine's Day with All it's Rosy Splendor to Capture One's Heart.

This Mannequin sits Amongst a Buffet of Sweets with Her Feather Quill in Hand at Her Writing Desk of Carved Ice in her Giambattista Valli. 

On 38th, Lord & Taylor has a Vintage Theme . . .

All the While Bloomingdales (in their Signature Bright Colors) Travels the World . . .

And in the Land of Printemps Haussman, Happy City Bears Carry Prada.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's Time To Give Pranks . . . Er, Thanks

Are you overcome by holiday stress? Forgot the dessert during your last minute run to the grocery store? Don't have time to whip up some pumpkin or peel apples for that "must-have" pie because it took you hours longer than expected to get the house in shape for guests?

Rest easy! Problem solved! You, too, can have a glazed ice cream cake in the shape of a turkey, thanks to Baskin Robbins.

Yes, this is yet another one of their awe-inspiring ice cream cakes. . . imagine the Kodak moment when you announce "Dessert!" amongst the semi-comatose croud around your holiday table, and you enter with THIS on a silver platter. The room will be silent for a quick second before the fighting begins for those treasured ice cream cone drums.

Now, if the turkey Ice Cream Cake doesn't do it for you, then give thought (and thanks) for this treasure:

Yes, you read that correctly . . "Inflatable Turkey" . . . looks just like the real thing and hey, you don't have to get up at 4 am to clean it either. You could put it on the table so when your guests begin to arrive, they'll think that they got there just in the nick of time, missing the chore of helping YOU in the kitchen. It comes in its own "Spam-esque" can so you can deflate the turkey and store it in your cupboard for snagging nosey mothers-in-law . . . knowing that they would not be able to leave that one alone.

And lest we not forget the favorite of kiddies and adults alike . . .

That's right! Thanksgiving Gum Balls in Pumpkin Pie, Cranberry and Turkey flavors!
Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart, it's time to give thanks. And thanks to you, Archie McPhee, for keeping our Pranksgiving alive.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Draft Horse In the Making

Scrap iron sculptor, John Lopez is a genius. . . plain and simple.  After the death of his beloved Auntie Effie, Lopez moved in with his uncle on his ranch in South Dakota to build a family cemetery.  Uncle Geno opened his home and more importantly, his welding shop to Lopez.  The rest is history.

While attempting to complete the fence around the family cemetery, the closest town is 35 miles away, and Lopez ran out of material. Thus, his imagination kicked into gear and he began to dig in scrap iron on site to complete his work. 

All visitors were amazed at his work; re-use gave Lopez such new-found personal satisfaction. Lopez was already a successful commissioned bronze sculptor, but the excitement of the hunt and sculpting from scrap causes him to never be bored. Scrap iron to Lopez brings forth a totally new direction for his work that piques his imagination and talent to a whole new level.

Over the past 10 years, Lopez has been working on The City of Presidents project in Rapid City, SD.  Bronze presidents reside on street corners through the town.  He has sculptures scattered across the country and traveling exhibitions. 

Amid his sculpting of Presidents, and other commissions, Lopez  has been able to build a career in sculpture without leaving his rather isolated prairie home in South Dakota.  Lopez grew up on a ranch; he knows horses and he knows cattle.  It's no surprise that's what he loves to sculpt best. 

Lopez's work in progress now is a draft horse pulling a plow.  What I find so interesting is that the longer you look at the piece, the more items you discover being incorporated into the mix.  This brings forth curiosity at a whole new level as a spectator of Lopez's magical interpretations.

Sure, it's metal.  Sure, it's scrap.  Sure, it's rusted.  However, Lopez's beautiful feathered work horse manages to capture your heart when you look into its seemingly kind eye, which brings a soulful feel to this magnificent piece. 

Please enjoy: to see his other works on display.  I will keep up with the final unveiling of this draft horse work in progress.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thrush Product for Horses that Works!

It's that time of year again for sneakin' stinkin' thrush.  It's warm.  It's humid.  Over these past two years, it has been soggy all year in our region.  But when the weather changes, and Thanksgiving draws near, we find ourselves unthankful in finding thrush amongst us . . . Until Now.  

We have gone thru the dry stuff, the purple stuff, the clear stuff, the soaked pad stuff, coppery stuff, and even the old-fashion remedies such as soaks and sugar/iodine packs.   Our next step (by vet recommendation) was to go the formaldehyde route.  We thought this was too extreme of a solution; however, since this experience has been an ongoing battle (a frustrating one at that) we might not be left with an option otherwise.

We became aware of a new product called Thrush B Gone in a news feed which sells online thru their website and Amazon.  After doing a little digging, it is determined to be an organic formulation that has been used by its founder for over 40 years.   There are testimonials on Facebook on their page, and on acquaintences of ours in the area, as well as on their website.  We gave it a go.  I administered Thrush B Gone after cleaning the hoof in the aisle in the barn.  It was nice to not be worried about the treatment staining the aisle, my clothes, or me!

Upon the first application, the "stinky feet" smell quickly dissipated within a few minutes -- the product has no smell either.  It is fluid enough to really get into the tight crevices.  I kept Zee on the cross ties for about 10 mins so that he didn't get into shavings, etc. in his stall to allow Thrush B Gone time to do it's thing.  Later in the day I saw no "gimpiness."  I followed directions and administered Thrush B Gone 2 days later.  There was no foul smell to the hoof, and the frog crevasses were the clearest they had been in a long time.  I almost did not re-apply, but did it anyway because that's what I was used to doing with the other products in our arsenal, over and over and over again. 

That was a year ago . . . . and here comes Thanksgiving.  When it comes time for the farrier to arrive, we pull out the bottle of Thrush B Gone and have it handy for a little "routine maintenance" on the whole herd.   That's all it takes.

There are a few of you (particularly in the northeast and southwest Florida areas) who have been complaining of bouts with thrush this year.  We gladly offer up our experiences with this product as it is a keeper in our barn.   By the way, Thrush B Gone donates its product to equine rescues from proceeds of bottle sales as sort of a way to pay it forward.  There is a quantity order discount through their website.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Armistice Day - Veteran's Day

Armistice Day, more commonly marked as Veteran's Day, is an opportunity to commemorate the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at the end of World War I, and also gives us a moment to stop and remember the brave men and women who died for their countries in military conflicts as far back as 4,000 B.C.

Lest not we forget the countless number of horses who bravely stood throughout time alongside these courageous men and women.

Back in the mid-90s, Paul Mellon wanted to do something to commemorate the Civil War horses and mules, on both the Union and Confederate sides. On his farm in Upperville, he had a three-quarter life-size bronze of Sea Hero, winner of the 1993 Kentucky Derby, standing in the midst of his broodmare barn. This exquisite bronze sculpture's artist was Tessa Pullan of Rutland, England.

Mr. Mellon set forth gathering knowledgeable people to team up with Tessa Pullan, which set the project into motion. Extensive painstaking care was taken to ensure that this Civil War Horse memorial's design was absolutely authentic. Photographs of a horse that was utilized in 4th Virginia Calvary reenactments were taken from every angle imagineable, with various pieces of loaned equipment in place. Photographs of period prints and paintings were provided to Tessa, including one caught in a brutal snow storm by Remington.

It was important to Mr. Mellon that the horse be portrayed as absolutely exhausted and somewhat starved, without rider and empty scabbard -- translating loss of soldier in calvary battle. Cruelty photographs were provided from the R.S.P.C.A., which aided in giving the effect of a horse whose rider was killed and was dying of exhaustion after a long battle.

One difficulty was making the horse appear as though it may have been outfitted as Northern or Southern. The saddle portrayed is a McClellan, used by Northern soldiers but taken or copied by the Southern soldiers. All gear used for the project was original from the Civil War period. Ultimately, a specialist in civil war accoutrements approved the model (which took Tessa two months to produce) before the actual casting (which took an additional six months to complete).

For it's inscription on the base, Mellon's staff contacted Civil War historian, Nick Nichols for statistical information, which reads as follows:

"In Memory of the One and One Half Million Horses
and Mules of the Union and Confederate Armies
Who Were Killed, Were Wounded, or Died from
Disease in the Civil War."

The original sculpture is located at the National Sporting Library in his bare golden bronze colored skin. There is an additional inscription on this original version of the statue due to the location of the library in Middleburg, Virginia:

"Many Perished Within 20 Miles of Middleburg
in the Battles of Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville in June of 1863."

Mellon commissioned a second copy for the United States Calvary Museum in Ft. Riley, Kansas, which is presented in a dark patina, a similar color of the Sea Hero bronze.

And finally, Mellon wanted a third copy placed at the Virginia Historical Society located in Richmond, Virginia. But after visiting the Society, Mellon realized that the horse was too small for presentation outside the Society, and commissioned that the third (and final) memorial be enlarged to full-size.