Monday, November 21, 2022

Carrizozo Lava Field


While Google-mapping the drive to Tucson, we came across a lava field in south-central NM.  There was a nice loop trail out into the most interesting-looking textured land we'd ever seen this side of Iceland.  It was mere minutes off Hwy 54, our chosen route, and the moment we saw it our trip somehow became a lot more desirable.  Kansas wheat and Ohio corn we were familiar with, but lava?  For someone who'd spent 8 months spellbound by the Icelandic volcanoes, this was irresistible.

This will be a post with minimal processing and maximum pictures.  We spent several hours here and I blazed away.  Of course I put a horse out  :)  you will see her in the last 5 shots.  To start with, the word "malpais" is pronounced 'mal-pie' and means, literally, bad place.  

The campground that the trail ran from was located on top of a small hill.  The hill seemed nearly surrounded by old lava.  It would be nice to claim the flows were all from this mountain (above), but they were from a much smaller mountain on the horizon.  There was an edge to the black field,..  a limit to the tortured plain,... but it was a huge place when you got down to it.  Below is a view of the short way across.

Seen on satellite, the Carrizozo Lava Field looks like a pair of slender black wings, 42 miles from end to end.  It's northeast of White Sands Missile Range and of the White Sands.  I had seen the word malpais in western literature, but hadn't realized what it meant.

Geologists say the flow of lava is around 5,000 years old.  It is the youngest flow in the continental United States by a long shot.  See that tiny bump on the left horizon below?  That's supposed to be the source,...

 The paved trail was very nice, switchbacking down the hill into the lava field.

 My husband photographed flowers, but I was taken by all the textures of the rock.

Fresh from Iceland, I could recognize a great deal.

 I started saying to myself, "There is no way I would ever take a horse across this!"

To think this rock had once been squeezy and soft, bulging itself into ripples and ropes, curls and crescents.  What was 5,000 years, after all?

The pine trees on the horizon here marked the half way point of the trail.

It is not clear to me whether the white gravel was naturally there or whether it came from the construction of the trail.

A desert environment, this was somewhat lush after the summer monsoon.  This was September, enjoying the rains from July and August.  

There were cracks, miniature canyons, lumps and bumps and holes.  I couldn't see how any hoofed animal could travel far.

A couple of closer shots, for texture.  Those are barrel cactuses in the upper left.

Never mind it was a public place, with tremendous visibility.  I had a bridled (o.k. hackamore'd) horse with me and there were few hikers, giving long stretches of privacy.  This mare, the wife of my Carrizozo [Nikolas], was still finalizing a name that day.

Alas for unshod hooves on that hard rock!

The wind was light, no damage was sustained, other than to my reputation when strangers came by.

 Much later the mare would be named Salorcha.  At the time I think it was Cocobeau.  

You really need a good horse out on the malpais.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Carrizozo's Hackamore: Finished


Finished!  Carrizozo's Hackamore began August 30 with the spinning of some orange thread.  The piece went through a lot of adventure!  I feel it barely squeaked under the wire of my determination to complete it by the end of this week (Nov 12).  The good news is that in the final days, it helped shift and break up my next book logjam.  That tiny knot at the throat, the Fiador Knot?  I'd had my drawing wrong!!  This hackamore gave me the opportunity to get it right.  Thank you for your patience.

UP FOR AUCTION.   Listed on Model Horse Place.  Buyer pays shipping, estimated at $12.  Closes Friday the 18th, around 7:15pm Eastern.  Good luck, thanks for reading!

 Model Horse Place: Carrizozo's Hackamore

The photo session was long, and included 4 horses of what turned out to be two different scales.  I found out for sure that this hackamore, for all that they are very adjustable and that I'd intended it for Rapunzel and Elbe, really was best fitted to the smaller Nikolas and his equal, the Pony of the Americas.

Here's proof.  Elbe/Firefly manages to fit in by holding her breath.  See how tight the bosal is around her muzzle, how high up the browband is and how short the fiador ends are?  Needlenose pliers are a must-have to tie them.

Another problem is the off side.  The braided ring likes to ride up and touch the eye, something I detest.

Nonetheless she looks a proper Western mare in it.  The overall detail is good.  And the color---!!  

I couldn't help having fun with this girl, Rapunzel/Astrid, even though she is the same scale as Elbe and this hackamore was a bit tight on her.  (I could barely tie those fiador ends:  Me!)  I know, these photos don't give an accurate color.  In this whole post, the POA is the closest to the truth.  But this pony was irresistible.

I was particularly pleased with this portrait.  Doesn't she look sassy!

Finding a saddle for Nikolas was one of those activities that proves I certainly could live-show if I wanted; I just haven't done so for years and years.  I spent a long time pawing around, pulling a blanket from here, a cinch from there.  In the end the saddle didn't show much and the cinch not at all.  But it worked; the bright colors of the blanket subtly influenced the pix, and the horse did the rest.

Wouldn't this headgear look great on the Nikolas remake that Amanda Brock, of Rogue Horse Studios, just posted the sale of?...?

The real win came when I put this piece on Kandinsky, the little golden Appaloosa Pony of the Americas. 

I conga the POA.  I could as easily have put it on the original bay.  The more contemporary mane and the delightful detail of his color drew me to this underappreciated pony.  To my amazement, my camera did not turn everything overpoweringly yellow and saturated red; it showed him in his true colors.  Oooh lah lah, at last I had found the right model!

That expression!

This, then, was the proper 'opening shot,' the memorable one, that should be used for the auction link.

Here's the obligatory 'laid out' shots.  Believe it or not, the ends of the fiador are tied Wall knots.

And here's the equally-obligatory list of previous posts on this hackamore:

Carrizozo's Hackamore Begun

Carrizozo's Hackamore: Developments 

The making of this hackamore paralleled the real start of retirement for my family, quite a change.  The piece has gone on a pair of trips, one to AZ and one to NY.  It has been a bridge between working on my next book, stopping, and starting again.  This hackamore represents the first time I've tried braiding in this unusual scale between Trad (1:9) and Classic (1:12).  Carrizozo's proves to me that even while working on a dream book, it is necessary to sometimes go back to a simpler phase of just-make-it...  It also proves (as if one didn't know!) that having interested buyers means more than I care to admit.  :)  The pandemic is not over over here, and that is as hard as ever...  Sometimes I feel I'll be eighty for the next twenty years.  :(  My beloved hobby is a doorway into another world.  While I miss you all more than I can say, I am so very grateful for what I do have. 

This hackamore fought hard, and still feels a bit like something needs-to-be-fixed.  If the winner has the same opinion, they should get in touch with me.

More Pins

 With the arrival of Mishkazelle, Mink's latest Imperial Unicorn pin, my collection grew too large for one board (at least to my taste).  I made a new, though smaller, board, with very deep blue velvet, and put all the Mink Unicorns together.  My original brass unicorn remains with his old friends.  Really, how could he possibly blend in with these -- ?!  And Mystashani [upper left] now has her whitesilver moon upon her side.  :)

Above we see two Original Unicorns, two Celestials and two Imperials, to give them their Minkiewicz series names.  This post will be about 5 of my latest new pins:  a Minkiewicz and four Breyers (Arabian, Snowbird, Hope and Jewels).

Collecting pins seems to satisfy at least 4 criteria for me, one of them being affordability.  I spoke in an earlier post about how the Stein pin was my best chance to own one.  Now I am 'owning' the Snowbird Christmas Morgan and, seen below, the Jewels Fighting Stallion.  Another criteria pins satisfy for me is durability and archival quality, or lastingness.  (I need a word meaning permanent, aha, thank you thesaurus.)  It was a surprise to me when I realized I'd been, after all,  jealous of chinas  for a very long time;  and was collecting pins as one way to assuage this yearning, since I haven't yet allowed myself to collect chinas.  They are breakable.  Pins are so much less breakable.  The fourth criteria was sheer jewellike beauty.  Bright colors and gloss, metal and bling,... and tactile smoothness, which is like the final kicker for me (and part of why I like Glossies so much).

Here's a better photograph of the Snowbird pin, as well as the most interesting Black Malik (called merely 'Arabian' by Breyer).  Black is a very hard color to execute using enamels, yet I think Breyer did a good job here.  (Yes, that is a hair on the velvet.  I'm leaving it there to show they aren't just suspended in space.)

You're probably tired of being told how hard it is photo them so as to bring out the colors.  I was enchanted to discover Hope the Pinto Pony's tail was blue!  Amazingly, in both these next photos you can see it.  Another surprise was how large Hope is -- look at him next to the Big Ben (Brahms).  (Bouncer must've eaten his Weetabix that morning!!)  Probably Breyer wanted to get in all Hope's pinto details, such as the handprint on his rear.
You can also see the Cinderella castle, mentioned in an earlier post.

I think the Jewels pin is my first-ever rainbow Breyer horse.  To demonstrate (yet again) how hard it is to shoot these things, the photo below has no processing or PhotoShopping.

Photographing Mishkazelle had predictable results.  I defy anyone to find a bluegreen sparkle in common between these two shots of the splendiferous Rose Gold Imperial Unicorn.

You can finally see that my unicorn board really is a blue and not a black velvet. 

It seemed appropriate for all the Mink Unicorns, plus it just happened to be what I had!  Ah, the mother of invention...

I have made myself a spreadsheet of all Mink's enamel pins, drawn from her newsletters' data.  Data I am keeping track of include the date a pin is first mentioned (I call it 'date of first published' or '1st pub'), the date of its sale, the Series and Name, a description and the sale price.  I tried to keep track of how many were in the issue, but after Rainbow Zigby the answer stopped being always 50 and went to nothing (not mentioned).  Sometimes I add dates of further description in the 'first pub' column.  I also try to keep miscellaneous notes such as whether the pin was soft or hard enamel, the first screen printing, whether it was sold with 'mug bundles' and the like.  If anyone has questions about just the enamels, I could probably answer.   

How many are there?  Counting the 2 Teal FlutterPonies as one, and counting Jorannazazi (sale date tomorrow), but not counting those others who haven't been sold yet (that includes the Purple Hippicorn!), it's fifty-two (52).

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Carrizozo's Hackamore: Developments


This Hackamore is taking some twists and turns.  Thus I have an opportunity to practice short blog posts.  :)  What I should have remembered, and taken into account, was that a fiador made for a Trad scale horse (to wit, Adios), no matter how short, would be too large in gauge for a Small Trad.  This became obvious to me only in mid-stride, when, overcome with pride and curiosity during the braiding of the browband button, I went ahead and rigged the whole thing.  'Rigged' here means tying the fiador and mecate to the bosal and headstall/hangar.  Smack hand to forehead!!  Something wasn't right...

In addition to a fiador out of scale, alas for my vision of a braided rawhide throatlatch!  Why did I not recall that a fiador by definition meant needing a browband as well as a hangar, but no throatlatch?  I don't know.  My memory is rusty sometimes.

 Of course this shows the browband button unfinished, with the long and short thread ends sticking up and out any old way...  :)

I made the hangar (headstall) as my Muse had indicated, with the orange ring in the center of the off cheek and a twisted-wire buckle on the near.  Next, envisioning a second ring in the center of the browband, I made the brow halves.  There was a struggle over the brow conchos;  I had nothing in stock -- all my cast ones were much too large.  Creating conchos from scratch, while possible, would have meant a whole lot of metalwork, something I wasn't ready to do in the middle of a short braidwork piece.  Daintiness being needed, I squeezed out a couple of rings of twisted wire, which had the benefit of matching the buckle.  (A tiny voice warned the white fiador would not fit through the browband openings.)  Doing the browband button unfortunately led to a rabbit-hole:  I had somehow lost a page of braid formulas I had written out, which I thought I needed.  Nasty discovery!!  Frantic emails to a braiding friend!!  Hours of pawing through everything in 2 rooms!!  No joy...

The rabbit-hole was eventually evaded by realizing a 9P4B button formula was common and easily regenerated by all my books.  That was the orange part (below).  (Why was I so fussed!?  but thank you anyway, Heather!)  I put white interweave rings in, not by the numbers so much as by a shortcut I'd evolved myself after years of using formulae... and to my happy surprise, 5 rings resulted.  I didn't think there was space for 5 black rings.  So I tried putting in 3.  I was quite pleased by the look of this.

But now I had to solve the fiador problem.  The tiny voice had indeed been right.  Not in scale!! --- the worst curse of the model tackmaker.   Ten years ago I had created a special fiador for a customer using thread spun in a 2-color twist, something I'd evolved for mecates.  The memory of that came back to me:

On the road as I was [Nov. 1-4], with only black and white heavy thread to hand, I conveniently forgot that Salinero's fiador had been made with very thin thread (HQ, or hand quilting).  Thus it came about that Carrizozo's Hackamore currently includes both a mecate that was too small for Trads, and a fiador made from thread that was too big.

All I can say is it looks good at the moment.

There is a blog post in October 2016 about a hackamore similar to this one (pictured below):  A Pony Hackamore.  Possibly my standards of decorum have slipped a little;  Carrizozo's has much louder braidwork than the earlier one.  But the idea is the same, using leftovers to fit a smaller horse.  

It is so much fun to be making tack again.