Friday, December 21, 2007

the year gone by

YeeHah! Here we are again at the end of a year thinking about the year to come. All in all it's been a pretty good one.We've been back in the States now for 18 months and have achieved lots as far as getting the ranch and our lives here back together. We have over fifty horses here now. There were only 15 when we returned from Australia.
My biggest personal achievement this year was giving up alcohol.It's been almost a year now! I've never in my adult life done this before. It's great!A lot easier than just cutting back. That never worked!Of course I still like to watch people drink. It's fascinating
January was a month of glad and sad. The glad being; we purchased Flambeau, the horse i had been training for several months (figured i just had to have him); and the sad, our good friend and horse boarder Roger, a beautiful, big, gentle giant of a guy, died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He was not much older than forty!
The winter was wicked with temps way below zero. Some weeks, when the merc rose above zero we declared it a heat wave. Anything that could freeze and break,DID!
In April we escaped for a week with a trip to California to visit Corky, Cindy, Mernie's Mum and of course the new grandson little Finley. Very nice relaxing time. Put on 5lbs!
The warmer weather when it finally came,was much appreciated and savored to the limit. Flambeau and I completed our first endurance ride in Denver; 21 miles of strangling my horse and 4 miles of pleasant riding. The Kenlyn Challenge takes you over and along streams, on paved walking and dog paths and under I 25 several times. Of course Beau was too nutso to notice any of this.
The following rides in Wheatland, Laramie, Nebraska and Denver were much better. He figured it out pretty quickly and has become a fantastic endurance horse. We ended the season with our first 50 ( a real endurance ride)in Denver.
Rod and Beth got hitched in May. We attended the wedding which was terrific. Lots of happy, fun loving people;A good start for our best friends and a lovely couple .
In Sept Mernie's Mum came to visit for a few weeks. Although her memory is not good, she is such a dear and an expert folder of laundry. I never did quite get the hang of that and now she's back in CA. we have reverted back to scrunched up clothes.
I turned 51 in October. Yikes!
Did lots of riding with my riding buddy Michael even at night under a full moon. Life doesn't get better than that!
Great news, BETH IS HAVIN' A BABY! Rod wants to call it Fritz regardless of the gender and there's lots of discussion going on about that in the Keller household right now! Oh Rodney!
In November I spent 3 lovely weeks in Australia with my family in spite of the fact that i got a nasty cold. I've been told its not good to fly with a cold and now i know why. I've been home for a month now and my ears still haven't popped.I'ts left me with some hearing loss in my left ear.Maybe it will get better and maybe not. We'll see.
Dad turned 87 while I was there! He's still going strong although he still whinges a bit; especially when his horses are losing.I got to spend a lot of time with Dad and with my sister Julie and that was precious. Spent some nice time with my sister Kaye. She is looking great and doing really well. I also got to see and ride our horses which was fortunate as in December, our 8year old standard bred Forrest died of a severe bout of colic.Our good friend Graham called to tell us but got the horses mixed up. He was sure it was the older of our two horses and so I assumed it was Fonzie.Although he did say Forrest to begin with.For those who don't know them well they were something like bookends. So now we have done some grieving for both horses.
Mernie has finished a wonderful addition to the house; a mud room at the front that i can't image how we did without. It's a place to come in out of the cold and unload those 10 layers of clothes and shake of the 2 bales of hay you've collected in them.Not to mention the boots with the huge globs of mud and horse poop on them! Mernie is so clever!
Mernie and Rod are finishing off the year with some serious beer making so you can guess what their new years resolutions WONT be!
Take care everyone and make 2008 the best year ever. Luv ya all.
Happy Trails from Ronnie and Mernie with the world On A String at the Ranch.
Don't forget to go back into previous blogs for more roodroppings!
(It would be lovely to have some comments so i know that I'm reaching some of you out there.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cruisin the Yorkers etc

Three weeks Down Under with the temperature hovering in between a lovely 75 to 100 F.Got to spend a lot of time with my sister and my dad which was the purpose of the visit to start with.Sister Julie and I stayed at her lovely cottage in Moonta before losing our way all over the southern Flinders Ranges looking for my horses. No, the horses are not and have never been lost, they are being looked after like kings at one of the South Australia's best bed and brekky accommodations, Bundaleer Homestead(previously blogged). It was us who were lost. Surprise, surprise! We just couldn't seem to follow anyones's, including our own directions.When we finally found the place where they were we still couldn't actually find them. They were there somewhere hiding on 250 acres of gum studded, rolling hills and bushland. After disturbing numerous mobs of roos enjoying their mid day naps in the shade of giant eucalpt trees we found 'the boys' grazing away merrily. By that time what had found us however was the 100 plus degree heat and swarms of pesky, sticky little flies.Ah Australia I had forgotten some of her finer points!

See here sister Julie in her little red sportsy job at Pt Hughes on the Yorke Pennicula not far from where Greg Norman is greating an extravegant playground for himself.We were pretending to be movie stars.Darrrrlings!

Stanley out to stud

Went home to Aus for my Dad's 87th birthday and here is the bonza birthday boy blowing out an obviously well abreviated number of candles.Note the badge. A token compliments of my nephew who acquired it after more than a few beers at a Melbourne cup race day celebration.Dad doesn't get around as well as he used to but his mind, like his wit is sharp as a tack.

Friday, November 02, 2007



This lovely black mare is for sale.See her here with Jessica strutting a little of her stuff in our arena.I will have her owner post a little more about her soon. 'SOLD'

Thursday, November 01, 2007

More toons. Some endurance riders i know.

pure caricature

My horse Flambeau needs some orthoscopic surgery on his left fetlock. So I'm turning to caricature to raise the money.I'm specializing in people on their horses and if you don't have a horse i can put you on one. Fancy being immortalized as the man from snowy river or Lady Godiva.Anyway personalized sketches will cost about $20. Drawing them is easy scanning them into the computer however is really challenging me.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Kenlyn Challenge, 50 Mile ride

Our first fiftymiler! It was a great ride. Linda Fischer and her crew did a nice job as usual. Although co-hersed into doing the longer ride by Gary Brown, and not exactly my idea, it was a great way to end the season for me and the boy.Can't say we came in bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but we made it and in doing so have 'broken the ice' for doing actual 'endurance' rides. I wish we had better pictures of Flambeau's trailer buddy Ginger the mule. You can just see her behind a weary Flambeau in the top picture. With her Partner Amy on board she completed a 15 mile 'Rookie' ride with ease. Look out for those big beautiful ears on the 25 mile trails next year!
It was around 70 - 80 degrees in Denver. I love this trail. The fifty goes under I- 25 twice and along walking trails with runners, dog walkers and bicycles all over the place. The horses can handle anything by the end! This time we also had airforce jets breaking the sound barrier above us as we rode (and at night when we we're 'trying' to sleep' !!) All in the name of endurance. Love it and can't wait for the Spring version of this ride to start off the season of next year. Yee-Ha!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Letter to Kaye

G'day, long time no blog! This is actually a letter to my sister Kaye who wants to know what's going on at the ranch.She writes to me diligently and I'm always too busy or tired to return the favour.But here it is early in the morning and i have a little time.

See here the new addition to the house and Mernie in the midst of it all. It will be great to be able to get inside out of the harsh weather and shed at least three layers of clothing and five layers of hay and manure before actually entering our living space.This has been on the list for quite a while and is finally taking form.(See in front our margaritta mixer now being use for concrete!)

The ranch is almost full to the brim with equines and we are on the hop from dawn to dusk. There are 59 horses and one mule to date and we are expecting a couple more horses for the morton barn in October.A lot of work and a hell of a lot of poop!Just as well we love it. We worked out that if we hired someone we wouldn't be making any money so Mernie has quit his job as of Sept 25th and is coming to work for me! This should be interesting! Actually I jest. Its really hard to get good help and there's no better than Mern.

Mern's Mum has been with us for the passed two weeks. She lives in California so the altitude and weather is a little hard on her. She is 81 and her memory is sliding but she is a real dear and gets around incredible well for her age. She suffers from the usual aches and pains but doesn't always remember that she does so there's some advantage to memory loss.Its been nice having all our clothes folded up nicely and the kitchen tidied up all the time.She loves to wander around the ranch looking at the horses and talking to all the boarders out here.She loves to chat to everyone just like my Dad. Pity those two can't get together.

My horse Flambeau is going great. Our next ride will be a 25 or 50mile in Denver on the 8th of Oct.I'm not sure whether I will get the time off to go but i hope so coz it will be the last one before the snow blows.I'm also riding a couple of horses for other people so i don't know how much training i will get in.Right now I'm riding him about three times per week which is much less than i was.Of course he does at least ten miles a lot of the time so he's still pretty fit.

Well that's about all I have time to write. I need to go get Mern off to work then feed horses and clean stalls.Cheers for now. Ronda.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Rushcreek Ride,Nebraska

Not many pictures taken as both Michael and I seemed to be busy most of the time. A great ride. Efficient friendly management and hosts and awesome scenery.Very sandy and hard going with numerous gopher holes to dodge. One of which I didn't and did my infamous somersault over Flambeau's head. All was well and this was only one of the possible tragedies that didn't come to be and that i can't mention too much about just incase Mernie reads this blog. We came in fourth and first in the light weigh division.Here I am weighing to go in for vetting for best condition. He was totally sound for 30miles but limped on the usual left front for the trot out then didn't limp again there after. Didn't get best conditon of course but did get a completion. Whew! This is not the first time he's pulled this one on me so i don't think I'll be going for BC anymore. No worries. To finish is to win!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

scraggy undies

Mernie's favorite underwear is an Aussie brand called Bonds. A few months ago he asked my sister to send some and she did but forgot to put the postcode (zip) on the parcel and it was returned to her. I don't know what's happened this time or where in the world (literally) they may be. Mernie reconds it's getting a bit breezy here in Wyoming and thinks his undies probably have more frequent flyer miles than he does! LOL!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Happy Jack 2007

Happy Jack Endurance ride, 12th August, 2007. I managed two 25 milers back to back. Gorgeous somewhat rocky trail only about 25minutes from home. See here Michael the evening before her first 25mile ride on Imix, Flambeau's best mate.We did the Saturday ride together. Imix did great! Especially for his very first 25 mile ride with a bunch of other horses running next to him.He has come such a long way from the shying machine he use to be. He 'saw it all' on the trail and didn't have a fit. I think we finished somewhere in the middle of a pack of many riders. I rode again on Sunday and Michael crewed. Thank goodness for her help.It's such a great relief to have a friendly face waiting at the vet check to put you and your horse back together again.
I met up with Kris the buddy I rode the Kenlyn with and we had a ball.I love riding with Kris and her arab Boomer is quite the mover. Flambeau wore a heat monitor so i could ride him out and pull him up when his heart rate indicated stress. Most of the time he did fine and we ended up 4th and 6th and in the running for best condition which once again I miss out on. Oh well. Beau did this rocky ride barefoot with only some booting.The second day was done totally barefoot other than booting the hinds for the last eight miles. His hooves look better than even.Next ride will be the Rush Creek 30mile in Nebreska in a couple of week. Yee Ha!

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Shamrock challenge

The Shamrock challenge Sunday 1st July. My second endurance ride in the US. It was held on a private ranch in a gorgeous setting on a hay meadow surrounded by sage bush covered mountains. There was a full moon and cyotes howling at night. Too Cool! My friend Michael (see picture here taking Flambeau for a test drive) crewed for me. Would have hated to do it without her help. It's exhausting being out on the trail for 30 challenging miles without having to work your tail off in camp. Having a good crew is like having a caring mum there to look you after you and your four legged friend. Next time Michael will be taking her horse Imex so we will have to find another 'victum'!
Flambeau did famously! He came in 5th so we were in the running for best condition. We didn't get it but I'm still absolutely chuffed with how the boy shaped up. The best part is this. Glenna Hopper vetted him. She is a local vet who knows Flambeau and couldn't believe it was him. She told me she was certain he was going to end up as a 'pasture ornament' because of the way he used to behave. He was so calm on the ride and did so well that she thought i was kidding her when I told her this was Flambeau. The horse's reputation seems to be one of some sort of notorious outlaw. The hard work has paid off it seems.
Click pictures to enlarge. More pics to be posted.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Three Pink Noses

Ammari,Embassy and Merlin (aka. Tub o' fun) Click on image to enlarge.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Getting rich as a writer.

Received a reply from a publisher the other day. I guess it's better than a rejection but I'm finding it hard to get excited about something that will happen in four years time! I'm wondering how much the forty five dollars I will receive (sometime prior to publication) will be worth by then and if it will cover my postage. Oh Well.

Dear writer,
we have found a place for your article in a future issue of our magazine.....blah blah blah blah....when writing your confirmation, please include the name of the magazine and the publication date, May 2011......Blah Blah blah.... 2011!
Oh well.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ickies in the Frigde

Ickies in the Fridge (originally Mutants in the Fridge)
Another kiddie lit poem by Ronda Eden

There’s ickies in the fridge and I don’t know what to do
Slimy bits of watermelon and all this yukky goo
Something green and furry, something all gone black
Some chips all dried and shriveled and what looks like a Big Mac!

No one likes to clean the fridge they’d rather let it be
They’re scared to take the lids off things
They’re scared of what they’ll see
The meat’s gone green and slimy and it’s really on the nose
The cheese has grown an overcoat and all the spuds have toes!

The veggies are quite clever, they take care of themselves
They turn themselves to liquid and move to other shelves
And if they’re left there long enough, they head toward the door
Then when you open up the fridge, they ooze onto the floor

Each day they’re growing bigger and changing shape and color
Some are getting brighter and some are getting duller
One day they might turn into, huge gigantic toads
And just keep getting bigger until the fridge explodes!


Then what a job will that be, to clean up that big mess
We’ll have to think of something
We’ll have to move I guess
Just thinking of this makes me tried
And makes me hungry too
But there ickies in the fridge and I don’t know what to do.

Sent to Cricket Magazine, 8th June 07

June artwork

Domingo,Cick to view larger image. Not quite finished.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Artwork for May

Finally a painting. I've been really slack but will try to get back to one or two per month.
Click to make bigger. Earl, oil on watercolorpape approx 17 x 15 inches.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rod and Beth's wedding

Rod and Beth got 'itched at her parents gorgeous Lilac farm on Sat May 26th. They scored a perfect day weather-wise sandwiched in between two rather awful ickky days. How serendipitous! We got to spend some very precious moments with Rod's delightful family and resolved the mystery of why Rod turned out to be such a bloody good bloke. Now the handsome couple are off to Jamacia for their honeymoon. A great start to a promising future together.

Rod's Hitched!

No, he didn't marry Mernie. He's mine! But this morning this is the only picture i could get to load. Doesn't Rod look sooooooooooo handsome. And Mernie, my how you've grown!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Have you ever seen a rat upon a pogo stick?

Have you ever seen a rat upon a pogo stick?
By Ronda Eden

Have you ever seen a rat
Upon a pogo stick?
I think I saw just that
Go through the scrub so thick

Boing, boing, boing, boing!
It shot past like a light
Boing, boing, boing, boing!
It gave me such a fright

I wonder where they got them
These rats must have a store
Or maybe it’s a warehouse
With pogo sticks galore!

They must hang on real tightly
If they’d so much as cough
They’d lose their balance might they
And sure as eggs fall off

I’m really only kidding you
Those rats are not that clever
It was really just a kangaroo
Have you seen one? Have you ever?

Sent to Boy's Quest Magagine on Friday 18th May. Accepted for publication in Hopscotch their magizine for girls. See blog entry June 10th for details.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Flambeau's first endurance ride

Trotting out for the pre vet check. Click on pics to enlarge.
Warm up.
Paying attention at the pre ride meeting.Note the funny visor on my hat that lasted about................2 minutes!

Flambeau's first endurance ride
Flambeau's first endurance ride, the Kenlyn challenge in Aurora CO. was full of trials and tribs. It was a beautiful day abet a little on the hot side for this type of thing. We got off to a bad start the day before by getting stuck creeping in a traffic jam on I 270 for ONE AN A HALF BLOODY HOURS!! When we finally got through, we couldn't even see what caused it! There was however, a guy in a pickup stopped sloughed over the steering wheel fast asleep; or maybe dead! Everyone was just going around him of course assuming, as we did, that someone surely has called for help.So, needless to say, we arrived late and had to skip dinner and set up in the dark. Mernie was a little grumpy and he wasn't alone. We also had a friend with us who had a rotten cold and coughed a lot. But she was low maintanence, a really nice person and talented horse woman so it was great to have here along.The ride itself was beautiful and very well organised. An easy but interesting track right in the middle of Denver. It went along and through a river bed with lots of bridges and water crossings , through sandy tracks and up and down gentle hills.It would have been prefect if Flambeau had not been so wound up. It was a fight to keep him at a reasonable pace. I had to wrestle with him most of the time and because of this could not let my guard down long enough to get water for myself. Flambeau drank from the rivers really well! Therefore he vetted with all A 's and I dehydrated so badly that I did myself injure. I would be a great advertisement for Camel paks! Those pouches you carry on your back and sip from a straw. Maybe I'll call the Company and volunteer to admit my stupidity.I found a horse to pace with and we came in vying for 9th/10th place out of a field of about 50. It was the first heart rate down to 60 and Beau's took a bit too long to get there so the other competitor received 9th /place which put her in the runnng for the Best Condition award. Flambeau's heart rate hovered at 64 for about 5mins in which time a few other horses came in so I ended up coming 13th. Your horse's heart rate has to come down to 60 before they even consider you in. I blame his winter coat and being such a dill all the way. It took him the entire first loop, 17 mlies to calm down and he used up a bunch of energy he didn't need to use. As for me, I became so ill the next day I had to call the hospital for advice on my condition. I personally would never had passed the vetting if it was me they were checking on! We learned alot on this first ride and if i can get Flambeau setted down i think he could win 25s like this one. What's more, he could win them barefoot! The two big things we learned is, regardless of the weather, check the roads where you will be driving for unexpected harzards and alternative routes. It
seems that we didn't even need to be on 270! And needless to say, getta a camel pak and drink, drink, drink!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


We have some very strange looking 'horses' boarding overnight sometimes! Meet Nick, a 180 lb St Bernard. We didn't get to see him and his buddies as they came when we were in California. Sara our lovely temporary barn manager and UW Artmobile Curator (as a coincidence) took these photos. There were four of these guys in two stalls. That's one heck of alottadog!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Visiting Finley

Just back from California visiting Mern's son, daughter in law, his Mom and of course new Grand son Finley. Step Grandson for me! Yikes. It was lovely to catch up with everyone.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

spring storm

It ain't over yet! Mernie said i should be alright if i just floor it and don't stop!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Silly Boy

I caught Flambeau (red hooved) hitting Amari on the bum with a rubber feed bowl. See in the second picture the guiltly look. I seem to get these silly horses. I remember years ago being told that my horse BJ was hitting the other horses in his paddock with a piece of sign board he found lying around.Click on images to enlarge them. Notice the pretty sunrise too.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Looking out our window this morning. Click on picture to enlarge it. See the full moon.

It's March and we've had probably the worst week of weather yet. Maybe not; it just seems that way as we are now anticipating putting away all those winter clothes and being an immediate 20lbs lighter! Better keep them out for a while yet methinks.

Still, I love it here in spite of the fact that the mercury hasn't risen above 0 (C) for quite a while. This week it was even too windy to bring horses the couple of hundred yards into the arena to exercise them. Just walking against that wind is exhausting enough.

Yesterday however was a little better so I rode three horses. My own and two others that I get paid to ride. This provides me with pocket money to feed my expensive habit of endurance riding.( Hey, I don't smoke, drink or hang out with loose men any more so I've gotta have something!) I have one horse I've riden for 18 hours in order to purchase a pair of hoof boots for my horse. I spend a lot of time in the saddle so my art practice is taking a back seat. The only thing I have done this month is a beginning sketch for a door mural for the arena. I'll get a pic of that as soon as I can. It's far too cold out there to paint it yet so its only chalked so far.

Mernie is in the middle of sorting out our accountng and doing taxes so he's been cranky. I don't blame him. If I had to do that kind of work I would probably be institutionalized by now.

See here Flambeau my endurance prospect.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Ok, how good are your eyes?You will need to enlarge these pics by clicking on the middle and look really hard to see something that looks like a big dog. You'll have to scroll the pic around a bit. It's a cyote and we don't usually get too many this close to the ranch. Probably has something to do with a couple of dead horses out there!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

some kiddie lit examples.

Mural, Murray Bridge, South Australia. One of four in SA.
The Ishchick! (Part fish part chicken. And not happy about it!)
Funny Chickens.
Roughs from the dummy book for Peggy Lou the Emu. Please excuse the quality. Taken straight from the drawing board.
Please click on images to enlarge.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

snow melt

Ok, yesterday we had two machines like this come in to move the bloody snow. This is the little one!! About three times the size of our truck. Today the sun is shining and the snow is melting ......and guess what.........MUD!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

snow drifts

Looking out our back windows. None of this snow actually fell there. The wind blows really hard here, so drifts can form very quickly and can swallow things up before you know it. See the disappearing fence.

Friday, February 02, 2007

finished commission

My finished commission. Scoll down. Can you see any differences?( Click on image to enlarge.)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Artwork for Jan 07

It's been a busy month just keeping our heads above winter in wyoming. Thus only one piece of artwork and not quite finished at that. A commission for a Vicki Helmuth owner of two lovely quarter horse geldings here on the ranch. Here they are, my stylised version of Cowboy and Chico. Click to make larger.