Sunday, October 25, 2020

Friends Forever

My granddaughters and my Amish horses have been friends for years.

Lyla and Kinley have built a long-lasting bond with Karma and Karla even though they live several states apart. Whenever these girls are in Iowa they run out to the barn to see their besties. 

Karma came to our acreage 14 years ago. Lyla is 10. She doesn't remember a time when Karma wasn't part of her life.

Karla and Kinley have also "claimed" each other. There is never an issue about who will hang out with whom. Their friendships are rock solid.

If you scroll down you will see pictures from many years ago. Including a photoshoot for a book cover.

Nevermind that these horses outweigh my granddaughters by almost 1800 pounds. These little girls have never shown any fear. 

Of course, they have nothing to fear because Karma and Karla dearly love them and would never do anything to harm them. I realize that accidents can and do happen. However, I am convinced that these 19 and 20-year-old mares are about as harmless as a pair of Black Labradors. 

I've witnessed Karla step carefully aside to allow a tiny kitten safe passage. She would do all the more to keep Kinely safe. 

We have lots of fun when our out-of-state friends get together.

We go for rides in the wagon and on horseback. 


Lyla and Kinley look so tiny seated upon their draft horse friends during this photo-shoot.

The picture below preceded my novella Whispering to Horses and inspired the little Amish girls in the book. After looking at this photo I came up with the idea to put Lyla and Kinley in Amish dresses and do a cover shoot.  

Whispering to Horses is available as an eBook through Barnes and Noble and on Amazon for $2.99
Click on this link: Whispering to Horses
Also as a paperback through Amazon or directly through me: Order a Book

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Clouds and Fields (Part 2)

As promised, here are a few more Clouds and Fields photos. These pics are the result of Sunday afternoon/evening drives through Amish farmlands near our home.
Unfortunately, I've been discouraged lately because one of my horses has come up lame. Karma ranks in the top three of my all-time-favorite horses. (I've owned over thirty) She may even be the best horse I've ever been blessed to have. We've had multiple visits from veterinarians and still not much progress. Karma is twenty-years-old and although that is getting "up there" for a horse, I am hoping for another ten years.

On a brighter note, my wife and I spotted these Amish boys driving a pony cart a few weeks back. There are four little guys about eight to ten-years-old jammed onto that buggy seat.
Both photos, above and below, were snapped near the iconic Cheese Factory and well-known Amish store String Town. The Cheese Factory has a new name and ownership but the Kalona, Iowa locals still use the old name when giving directions. The pasture below has a few buggy horses grazing with a couple of ponies. This is a common sight in Amish country. There is no better way to learn how to drive a buggy horse than playing around with ponies.
A massive cloud hanging over the Amish farm (below) almost looks angelic.
Just over a year ago a tornado swirled like a demon about where the angel cloud is hanging.
Iowa scenery can be rather repetitive. Everchanging clouds have a way of making each day unique. A herd of cows walking along the ridge in this last photo move along as slowly as the clouds.
I hope you enjoyed our relaxing drive through Amish farmlands.

(An update on my horse "Karma") She had an abscess in one hoof and is recovering. Unfortunately, we saw in an x-ray that she has "ringbone" in her ankles, the horse equivalent to arthritis. The double issue accentuated her problem and left us confused about what was the matter. She will be okay but old age is slowing her down. 

Would you enjoy more cloud pics? Click on this link 2019 Sunset Tour to see October 2019 pics.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Clouds and Fields (part 1)

I'm an author, not a photographer.
All of my pictures are snapped on my ordinary iPhone. I do crop my photos but that's it. No filters.

 My original goal of taking pictures had to do with helping people grasp the beautiful images I attempt to describe in my novels.
If Thomas Nye shares any of the traits of a photographer, it's the recognition of natural beauty and a desire to capture a glimpse of it to share with others. I do this in my books as well as with my cellphone pics. Can you believe the glow of light and color within those clouds?

It just so happens that my wife and I have a Sunday evening passion for driving through Amish country. We climb aboard my old pickup truck and take our dog Wesely and a bowl of popcorn. Moving about the speed of a buggy with our windows down, we take in all the sights, smells, and sounds of Amish country. We've had a great run with amazing clouds and I'm excited to share them with you.
My horses are used to being captured by an iPhone. This selfie (above) of Karma, Karla, and myself might look photoshopped. Nope, it's not.
Golden and ripe for harvest, a field of oats contrasts green ditches and growing corn. (above) You can see an Amish cemetery notched out of the field and three Amish farmsteads under beautiful clouds. An Amish schoolhouse (below) sits behind a field of alfalfa hay. Clouds can add such depth and power to a tranquil scene. If these pictures catch your interest, then you may love reading my books.
Here is a link for a description of my stories: Novels by Thomas Nye
I hope you enjoyed these photos. They were all taken over the past couple of months. I titled this blog (part 1) because I have more "clouds and fields" pictures to share with you. Watch for (part 2) Be sure to click "Follow" on the sidebar of my blog to be notified when I publish new posts. You might also want to "Like" @AuthorThomasNye on Facebook.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Applesauce Bonanza

Applesauce apples ripen around the 4th of July every year.
Many people think of harvesting apples in the fall. This is true of most varieties of apples, but not Lodi or Yellow Transparent. These sour types create the best texture and flavor for home-made applesauce. My wife grew up helping her grandmother and mother can and freeze orchard and garden produce.

 After I picked apples for three evenings, my wife washed and cut out cores, removing as little as possible in order to increase the output. I helped by ladling cooked apples into a colander. 

We poured the strained, cooked apples into our "victorian strainer" and filled our cake pans with raw applesauce. My main job is cranking the strainer and ladling the sauce into freezer boxes. Once it cools, add sugar to taste. No recipe-- just apples and sugar. We leave it rather sour and add cinnamon-sugar when we put it on our plate, or at the time of serving.

We put up 77 quarts into our freezer. I know-- this sounds like a ton! However, appletrees have "on and off years." Some growing seasons produce oodles of apples, but you never know what next year will be like. We had a late frost this year and it might have destroyed our crop. It turned out to be an apple bonanza! I prayed for these trees when I planted them in 2002 as a birthday gift for my wife. Prayers answered: they grew and produce well. The message in her card said, "There will be two beautiful bouquets of apple blossoms every spring that say: I love Shari." (and her applesauce) 
Our children grew up eating my wife's AMAZING applesauce and now my grandchildren are enjoying the same. In the photo below, you can see our Yellow Transparent appletrees just to the right of my balding head. My granddaughter is riding on Karma, our Amish raised horse.
Our whole family LOVES Shari's home-made applesauce with her home-made pizza!
There is an applesauce apple picking story in Under the Heavens

To find out more about all of my books Click Here

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Seeds of Hope

After weeks of hitching my horses whenever the weather and my schedule cooperated, we finally planted sweet corn with the hope of yielding a delicious crop.
I'm a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service. We have been busy right through the Pandemic. This meant working on our sweet
corn project in the evenings.
 Karma and Karla got a workout as we tried to break up our plowed ground. We should have plowed this area last fall. However, last fall was so wet. If you look closer at the photo below you can see the thick slabs of soil that dried out before I got a chance to disc them up. All said, I hitched these girls 6 times to prepare the soil, and the 7th time we planted sweet corn.
My brother-in-law planted corn with a modern-day John Deere planter (In the photo above) while I disc up my plowed ground with horses.
We added a harrow section behind the disc. The harrow combs the soil, smoothing everything into a better seedbed. (In the photo above) In the lower right corner of the picture, you can see the lines where the disc rolled over the clods. In the lower lefthand part of the picture, where the harrow refined our work.

We passed over the rough sections many times before the ground seemed ready.

Then Karma and Karla brought out our little two-row John Deere planter. All of my implements are the style used in the early 1900s. It amazes me that they are still functional even though they are around 100-years-old.

Working with horses and antique equipment gives me the sensation of time travel. I feel somehow connected to the past and those who used these very implements over all the years.

My old John Deere planter is designed to cut a track, drop kernels, and gently pack the soil closed. The wheels are flanged perfectly for closing the soil over the seed.

Now everything is planted, in hope of a good harvest. These pictures were taken several weeks ago and now our sweet corn is emerging. However, this growing season hasn't been ideal and the stalks are small. I'll share more later.
Click here to learn about my books: Books by Thomas Nye

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Plowing through a Pandemic

 Life has to go on, Pandemic or not. Karma and Karla are ready and willing to help do their part. We pulled our plow out of the barn and brushed off cobwebs. This Emerson plow is over a hundred years old. No doubt, it broke up soil during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918. That's the year my wife's parents moved onto this farm.

 My horses and I are working to get this plot ready for sweet corn. I'll try and do more posts as we progress and let you see more of the process.

I've been following the pandemic through the news. Iowa Public Radio does a fine job of keeping us informed. Just recently, I discovered that one of my favorite radio personalities lives on my mail route. I knew the name but didn't make the connection until last week.

Another of my favorite news sources happens to be The Irish Times podcast. They do a daily Confronting Coronavirus podcast with great information. Not only do I LOVE listening to Irish voices but I find it useful to know what people outside of the U.S. are experiencing. 

Here are a few of my personal observations: We, here in Iowa, and everyone in the world are facing very similar struggles. We all have moments of fear. Only the Lord knows how this will all end. We also experience some beautiful lessons. Many of us have learned what benefits a slower lifestyle can provide. We've been made aware of the value of freedom, family, and friends. Some people are making the most of this timeout. Others are in survival mode. Most of us have a mixture of both good and bad. My Irish friends have been encouraging me to let both happen. Enjoy the good experiences and lessons without putting pressure on ourselves to be productive.

Many authors are finding it difficult to focus on writing, as I have. We find ourselves distracted. My Iowa Public Radio friends explained that the desire to watch too much news is a survival instinct. Our subconscious minds are searching for information that will take away the unknown element.

One of my daughters expressed that she had been feeling depressed lately. I encouraged her by saying, "The world is experiencing unprecedented suffering through illness, job loss, and isolation. We might not comprehend everything with our conscious mind; however, our souls feel the weight of it all."

 It got dark before we could finish on our first outing. We were able to finish the second time out. Karma grazes just outside of the fence, showing our completed plowing project. Meanwhile, we'll keep plowing through this pandemic.
Would you be interested in reading about life on an Amish farm?
Click on this link: Books by Thomas Nye

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Amish and the Coronavirus

The Amish and the whole world stand by, watching to see how the Covid-19 pandemic will play out. This might be the first time in history when the entire globe is unified as we confront a common enemy.

I had a long visit with my good friend (who happens to be Amish ) on Friday. We began talking about our favorite topic, horses. However, all conversations at this moment lead to Coronavirus.
My Amish friend gave me reason to pause and rethink a few things.

I thought: I will be a valuable source of information for him. After all, I'm privileged to have access to all forms of enlightenment through my phone, radio, TV, and computer.

As I began sharing what "I knew" he started to chuckle. I thought: oh no- my poor friend is doubting what I know to be fact.

As we talked, I tried to convince him of "my truth." I slowly realized that he didn't see me as a source of information at all. Not because he didn't trust me but because I got my information from through media he didn't trust.

Isn't this is a huge problem for us all? Our political leaders, and the president himself, have convinced Americans that we can't trust our news sources.

My Amish friend and I began to discuss "social distancing." It quickly became clear to me that we who are not Amish have already become "socially distant." We are very comfortable sitting in front of our TV to fulfill our need for human interaction. If that isn't enough- we text, zoom, skype, facetime, marco-polo, or whatever.

Amish people, by and large, do all of their communicating face-to-face.

This is not to mention, Amish live with extended family. Restrictions about not meeting in groups of ten or more would rule out most Amish families having supper together.

I am very concerned about my Amish friend and for all Amish everywhere. They might live on farms that are spread out over the countryside, but they are extremely socially interconnected. Amish have a strong tradition of keeping their elderly in their homes.

Modern Americans (westerners) have become obsessed with germs. Amish people have not. If you have spent any amount of time with Amish families, you know that they pass around cups to share a drink of water without a thought.

My conversation with my Amish friend ended with him giving me advice. 

"We all need to pray. Only God can deliver us."

As you do your praying... please pray for our Amish friends.