Saturday, May 20, 2017

Camping in Catmint

Another birthday has come and gone for Mom. Contrary to the forecast, Thursday, May 18 was mostly rain free here - even sunny most of the time. I say "mostly rain free" because a short-lived thunderstorm announced the day's arrival around 2 in the morning. (Thanks so much, weather.) May 18 turned out to be the last of the streak of unseasonably warm days for us, but the gusty wind made it seem less stifling than its predecessors. Now we're back to the typical low 60's. With on-and-off rain, naturally.

*Cues appropriate song* Feel free to listen while you read on.

We didn't have much time for HI2 on Mom's birthday because lots was going on, but here is our not-so-exciting flute:
It is cute that a horse appeared *in* the catmint rather than next to it for once. =)

She's a far cry from either of the main subjects of Mom's calendar page. (Isn't that foal awesome, though?) Not that it matters, since Mom's not part of our unofficial contest, but still... Hypothetically, would that chestnut neck and head count? How about the dark horse in the background? XD

Random fun fact: our flute from the 17th would have been a decent match for the mare, though I'm guessing the one in the photo is some sort of appaloosa that's grayed out, not a cremello. =)
Itch that tail, Umber!

As has usually been the case, we didn't get HI2's Happy Birthday message until we logged in the next day. I sure wonder what's with that? Does this happen to anyone else? Maybe we did screw up and chose the wrong day when we signed up. *Shrugs*

At any rate, here are Mom's on-time presents! 
To be clear, they include: jeans, a white watch, a Hagrid mug (Mom's youngest sister, whose birthday was last week, got a Draco Malfoy one. =)), the final stall Mom wanted for her model horse ranch set up in The Horse Room, a bonus horse that came with the stall, and 3 doll-sized dresses! A few more gifts are still on their way from Amazon, including a 4th dress. We will model them for you once the 4th has arrived!

Quite a fun haul, I'd say! Mom was happy. While only the watch and the mug were technically surprises (the rest she'd picked out earlier in the year), I think we can all agree that it never gets old to tear into a stack of presents! She says no present will ever top the one she received around her 7th birthday, though, her no-contest best birthday present ever:
Pepsi! <3 We sure miss you, you big lug! (You too, Summer, even though you were not a birthday present and only have a partial tail and leg in this frame.)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

Yay for May and for Always Dreaming, the handsome horse who won the Kentucky Derby yesterday! I was rooting for Gunnevera, who came in 7th. At least I didn't pick Thunder Snow. XD I love Always Dreaming's name, though, so I was still quite happy.

No new horses for us on HI2, Thoroughbred or otherwise. In the livery, we did spot a Florida Cracker mare in one of Bethany's two favorite FC mare coat colors, though.


Run-of-the-mill stats, unfortunately. Keep on dreaming, Bethany.

Cider and I found another 5/6 Orlov Trotter too. This time it was a brown-toned mare from Brown Isle rather than a crystal-toned stallion from Crystal Isle.



She's pretty as far as HI2's Orlovs go, and who wouldn't love that personality? If her stats had been higher, it would've been really hard to let her go!

As fun as it is to add new horses to the herd, I'm relieved we haven't had much luck lately with our flutes. Even though we haven't officially added either of the two horses below to the herd yet, my sisters have named them and put them in tack. I fear they're getting too attached to part with either one. Hence the last thing we should add to the equation is yet another tempting wild.

Here is the Kaimanawa that Felicity promised to put back in the livery if we caught a higher-stat horse in March. Two months and one higher-stat horse later (Caraway), we still have her. *Sighs* I should've known. She has been named "Blush" due to her pink skin and overall pinkish tinge.


And here is our first 6/6 catch of the year, that goofy Selle Francais stallion. We wanted to name him something that started with an X because of his X-shaped personality distribution. Xyris, a genus of yelloweyed grasses, seemed to fit him. He may not have yellow eyes, but he is golden-toned with golden dapples.

With HI2's latest update came several changes that my sisters and I heartily approve of. First of all, HI2's Irish Draughts have lost those less-charming reworked eyes. I can't speak for the formerly-blue-eyed IDs (since we don't have one), but I can tell you that Palladium and Galena's brown eyes have been restored to their former glory. Yay!

Reworked:


Now:


A new breed of horse has been introduced to the game with the update as well, the Iberian Warmblood. I do like them, though I think their necks look a tad stumpy, especially on the mares. What's cool is that they come in manchado, a rare pinto pattern, in addition to many solid colors. Here are two manchado examples from the BBB:


And finally, diamond and tardisian barns have been added to the game, both of which can hold 10 horses each. Up until now, the largest-capacity barns have been platinum barns, which can only hold 8 horses each. So, obviously, we will be gradually replacing our ranch's platinum barns with diamond or tardisian barns to gain a few more of those precious horse slots. =)
Diamond Barn


Tardisian Barn
(I don't know much about Dr. Who, but I still appreciate this.)

I will leave you with these shots of some Michigan wildlife that Mom spotted this week. <3

This family was grazing on the banks of a pond, and they didn't seem in any hurry to move when Mom pulled her car into a parking spot right by them. 8 goslings! 

They did eventually get back in the water and swim away. 
On the same pond was another geese family with 6 goslings (not pictured). The parents would not let them mingle, though. Major hissing went on when a few goslings tried. 

On Saturday morning, Mom glanced out her bedroom window and noticed this trio strolling through the front yard. By the time she got her camera out, they'd already progressed to the other side of the cul-de-sac. A mom and two big fawns, maybe?


Deer wandering around in broad daylight is nothing new around here. We've observed them in the backyard before - we've seen them easily clear the chain-link fence to get in and out. Mom occasionally sees them out and about while she's walking around the neighborhood in the afternoon too. Once this spring, a few of them went bounding within feet of her while fleeing from a brown dog. (The dog gave up the chase when it reached the boundary of its invisible fence.) Deer hooves make clip-clop noises on pavement like horses, in case you were wondering. =)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

3 French Mares

April 21, my birthday, was on a Friday this year, which was awesome. The weather here was not quite as awesome - I'm not sure it even made it to 50 degrees. At least it didn't rain, for once. 7Up was my lucky mount on HI2. Here we are with my birthday flute:
Not bad, but definitely not PepsiSummer-herd-worthy. Maybe someday we'll find a great Norm. To be named Norm. Or Norma. Assuming the filter allows for that.

I think that my sisters and I should have a contest this year to see who flutes the best horse on her birthday. There could even be multiple categories. Might I suggest highest stats, prettiest artwork, and coolest avatar? We could also have a "most similar to the horse on Mom's page-a-day calendar" category, though I'm pretty sure I'm not going to win that one. This gorgeous foal looks nothing like my Norm. XD

Winner of each category could get a premium companion of her choice. Is it a deal, guys?

Remember how Lily recently fluted that wonky 6/6 Selle Francais? Well, guess who I found going to the foreign bidder last week? I was a big softie and bid the piddly $5k or whatever it was to keep her on the game.
Truth be told, she's a nicer Selle than the one we caught. Nicer personality and higher stats, anyway. Let's not tell Mr. Wonky, though.

Ah, one of those not-black horses that has a darker avatar than many black ones. XD
Since we didn't catch her ourselves, and since her stats fall short of the elusive +80 threshold, I reluctantly let her go before I logged out on my birthday. When Bethany checked the livery horses the next morning, she was no longer among them. Hopefully that means she found a good home.

While Bethany was checking out the livery horses, she also noticed this mare:
Just look at that personality stat distribution! *Applauds appreciatively* So visually pleasing!

Bethany also urged me to share this ad that she saw come up:
She almost did go compete in Orbs II after seeing this. =^) Almost.

Finally, here's me posing with the Floppalots from my sleepover in Mom's room on Friday night. (We stayed up late watching a marathon of Expedition Unknown.) Mom's decided to name the bunny Eleanor.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Post-Easter Post

Nothing all that exciting has happened on HI2 for us lately. I did happen upon a really nice Cleveland Bay in the auction house on Saturday, though. I thought he ought to get a second chance at staying in the game, so when nobody but the foreign bidder had bid with less than a minute left in the auction, I bid.




Such a stately horse with the personality to match! At +68 and only two stat points away from being 6/6, I think he has a decent shot at being adopted. Before I dropped him off in the livery, I rode him around Narrowed Isle for a little bit to check out his avatar.
Yep, he looks about how I expected. :^)
Good luck, big guy!

My flute today (the day after Easter) was a pretty nice mare too.
Hee hee. I love Fort's hooves.

Another proud-looking horse with an interesting persona. Drat that conformation stat!

Mom took some photos of us in our Easter dresses on Saturday. (It was warm - in the 70's! - and dry out, and she knew she wouldn't have much spare time on Easter itself.) We hadn't anticipated how windy it would be, though, so it was a brief photo shoot. Our hair was blowing everywhere, Mom's hair was blowing everywhere, and it was super sunny, which did not make for the world's best photos. We mostly stayed in the shadow of the house, where the lighting was less harsh and it was marginally less windy.

Here's Bethany lounging in the shade of an oak.


Here's Lily walking through the myrtle. Behind her on the right is the backyard's "mossy expanse," a carpet of moss that thrives in the shadow of the house.


Here's Felicity on the the edge of the incredibly soft "mossy expanse." Note the purple flower to her left. <3



And finally, here I am on the brick patio. The glaring sun makes for an interesting background. x^)


We mutually agreed to retreat to a comfy chair in the sunroom for our group shot.


Easter itself was pretty low key for us dolls, but it was a huge day for a certain stuffed elephant.

It wouldn't exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out which Easter basket is Mom's.
Ha ha, Nala's cucumber made it into the photo.
Speaking of Nala, the chocolate bunnies in gold foil you see in Mom and her sister's baskets?
This is the same size and type of bunny that Nala consumed a few months ago.
Mom's little sisters got cash in their baskets along with the candy... and Mom gets a stuffed rabbit. Yep, that sounds about right. XD 

Mom may have dropped the hint once or twice that this is what she wanted for Easter. And the Floppalot bunny from eBay did not disappoint. As you can see, she's (because clearly she's a she, right?) been well taken care of. In fact, she has much fluffier stuffing than Norbert, which means Norbert still easily wins the floppiest stuffed animal prize. Here she is from the back, so you can see her impressive yarn tail:

Here she and Norbert are meeting each other for the first time. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. <3