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Farm Fresh Blog
Saturday, 30 April 2011
Who was that old, fat, drunk woman staring back at me?
I looked at my new driver license photo again. Eegaads! Who was this person?
I compared it to my last one - the one that I hated because I looked like such a bitch. (But at least the woman in that picture was a skinny bitch.)
There is nothing quite like the reality check of a bad photo to smack you across the face like a wet fish. But wait! There was one more nail to drive in my coffin. I called my old Karate Instructor regarding butchering lambs (he is a butcher) and had to admit to him that I'd gotten fat.
"NO!" he protested.
This is the same man who carefully tuned my body years ago before I joined the police department. This is the same man who cautioned that I was getting "too thin" after I joined the police department. And here I was having to admit that I'd let all the training and hard work go out the window. It was like telling your mechanic that you'd gotten drunk and driven his sports car into the ditch. And true to form, he happily offered to fix the problem.
"Come back to my morning class. You'll love Krav Maga." (Israeli martial art)
"I'm sure I would, but when would I have the time?"
And there it was. Time. There was never enough of it. I decided then and there that I needed to start making the time to get back in shape. Not for Krav Maga, but for me - for my health, for my self-esteem, and so I didn't die young and leave Other Half with all these sheep.
She answered the phone and informed me that today was a VERY BAD DAY for her to go shopping.
"I haven't been this big in years!" my former marathon runner said. "I feel horrible!"
To make her feel better, I drove over to show her my driver license photo. Clearly, it cheered her up. I'm not sure what to make of that. Regardless, we were both inspired to start a work-out program. It was decided that since she lived at one end of the street, and I lived at the other end of the street, we could have work-out stations in each yard and jog/power walk between the stations. Naturally we would each take a dog, and the dog would get to do a down-stay at each station. (Oh joy for the dog!)
I have only one pair of summer pants. That's not true. I have 3 pairs of summer pants that I can barely squeeze my ample ass into, but they don't count. I have only one pair of loose-fitting summer pants, and I am beginning to wear a hole in the seat of those. The goal of our mission was to find comfortable britches. The problem with most summer capris is that they are made for 16 year old girls who want hip huggers. Where do 47 year old women shop? Are we destined to wear long t-shirts forever because we can't find pants that don't come above our love handles? A clue that there is no need to even take that cute pair of pants off the rack is if the zipper is only 3 inches long. Again, where do mature women shop?
So we began our odyssey at the sporting goods store - racks and racks and racks of dazzling colors, and none of them fit.
Dear Friend found the most adorable swim suit. Excited, she waved it at me before she headed to the dressing room. The look on her face when she came out said it all. I didn't even bother to try. Swimsuits would be reaching a little high for me anyway. Hey! I just wanted some freakin' pants that fit! The frustrating thing was that the sizes varied wildly even within the same pants. For instance, I tried on three pairs of pants - same size, same brand, same cut, different color. All I can say is that the 8 year old kids in China who made those pants were all using different scales. One pair was grossly too big (yea!). One pair was grossly too samll. (boo!) And I could barely squeeze into the last pair,
AND YET THEY WERE SUPPOSEDLY ALL THE SAME PAIR OF PANTS!
I did find yoga pants and some adorable, overpriced t-shirts ("Life Is Good" brand) that hopped into my cart. I also bought a scale. It was about the same as buying a dragon. We drove home, inspired to cut back on sugary drinks, fried foods, and sweat a lot more.
Apparently farm work is great for your arms, but does very little for your middle. I know this because over time, I'm beginning to resemble an apple. How is it possible to be on your feet all day, fall to bed exhausted, and still gain weight?
There is a fascinating difference between men and women. I bought a scale, but I had no plans to actually get on the thing any time in the near future. Yet as soon as I brought it home, Other Half happily climbed on the dragon.
He peered down, and said, "That can't be right."
I laughed. (And Denial is a river in Egypt.) Despite his urging, I didn't even bother to climb on. The next morning, after Dear Friend and I had sweated our way up and down the road for about 45 minutes, and while Other Half was still sleeping, I snuck onto the beast.
Do what?!! 40 pounds overweight!!!
I didn't even bother to deny it. And yet somehow, magically, I felt better. I was now tackling the problem, and the problem had a number. And I had a plan. And I have a goal! Don't laugh, but as soon as I get back in shape, I'm gonna take a new driver license photo. How vain is that?
Seven years ago when I thought I was overweight!
Now! 40 pounds later! Girlfriend has GOT to get back in shape! It is not so much the weight, as how it makes me feel. It ages me. So, with my trusty Border Collie at my side, I embark on yet another journey to get back in shape!
Friday, 29 April 2011
Dorothy asked for a blog about Oli, the current Police Dog, so here it is!
Born in Czechoslovakia, she is a Belgian Malinois, who at best, looks like a coyote on crack!
Unlike the magnificent Zena,
Other Half's last partner, Oli strongly resembles a nondescript mutt - a tiny little brown dog (on crack!)
Years ago, I heard the tale of a canine officer with a malinois who confronted a belligerent drunk. The officer informed the man that he needed to move on out of the area.
The drunk snarled,
"Who's gonna make me? You and that little brown dog?"
And with that, he kicked the officer in the crotch.
The poor cop dropped like a rock . . .
The drunk had to be hospitalized.
Unfortunately there was no one available to pull the "little brown dog" off him.
What our intrepid drunk failed to realize is this:
Force = Mass X Acceleration
What the Little Brown Dog lacks in Mass, he makes up for in Acceleration. These little dogs are like speeding bullets.
In reality, she is a very expensive bundle of energy, bred to work.
Oli is NOT a calm, family farm dog. She is highly intelligent, (in a velociraptor sort of way), and will actively plot means to get chickens or sheep. Absurdly affectionate, Oli will launch herself from a great distance to land in the recliner with Other Half, where she falls asleep and snores like freight train. It is one of the few times she is not in motion. When Oli enters the house, without fail, she flings herself across the living room furniture like a blazing brown pinball, bouncing from chair to ottoman to couch, and back to ottoman. Oli is good with other dogs, and ironically, good with cats. (After all, why hunt cats when you can hunt sheep?)
She is a narcotics dog who also does basic patrol work. They work with interstate freight traffic, looking for illegal aliens and narcotics. Oli and Other Half can be sent anywhere in the country, (insert frowny face here) but their primary focus is along border states.
Whenever Other Half works without Oli, she stays home on the farm with me.
Repeat: Oli is NOT a farm-friendly dog! She would love nothing more than leg of lamb with a side dish of fresh chicken, and is intelligent enough to find a way to get it. Thus, she requires a bit more juggling than the rest of the dogs.
And so Dorothy, that's about it! Oli is a Dual Purpose Dog who digs, kills chickens & sheep, plays endless silly games with the puppy, and makes sure that my husband comes home safely at the end of the night. So in the long run, I guess it doesn't matter if she looks like a coyote of crack!
Thursday, 28 April 2011
Warning! Warning! Warning!
If you are squeamish, skip this blog and tune in tomorrow for something warm, and fuzzy, and cute. The truth of things is that I'd rather skip it too, but in keeping with my moral code, I must share ALL the parts of living in the country, not just the good ones.
That said, enter this blog at your own risk . . .
Now those of you who are left, everyone hold hands . . .
Okay, here goes . . .
Our neighbor, Kindly Rancher Next Door, is a young man who raises cattle, a few goats, and some chickens. The chickens and goats are income and education for his young son, Cooper, who is learning early the values of hard work and the ranching way of life. I am proud to say the I bought Cooper's first crop of baby goats, and Other Half paid WAAY too much for chickens we didn't need one year because he wanted to give this budding rancher some encouragement. But I digress, back to the story . . .
Spring has sprung and the season of baby chicks is upon us. Kindly Rancher Next Door shared this little tidbit over the fence this week:
He lost 8 of his first crop of baby chicks to one of our barn cats! I felt terrible. He was okay with it. No hard feelings. Life in the country, and all that. Anyway, he had moved on, and was looking forward to their next little crop of chicks that had just hatched.
And now here's the horrifying part . . .
He came in one day last week to find a 6 foot chicken snake had gotten into the pen and eaten ALL of his chicks. Then the bastard was so fat that he couldn't sneak back out again!
EEEEEKKKKKKK!!!!! (cue "Psycho" soundtrack)
My skin is still crawling! I'm not a snake-hater, but Friends & Neighbors, if a chicken snake just ate all my peeps that would be one dead snake! The severe drought is bringing wildlife closer and closer to the houses and barns. I'm most grateful that the sheep rotating in and out of the yard keep the grass down low enough to discourage snakes, but we have no sheep at the other house. (right beside where the 6 foot chicken snake was discovered)
Now some of you may be old enough to remember the comedian Richard Pryor. While much of his comedy was a bit raunchy for me, I do recall a delightful skit he did on snakes where he summed up precisely my feelings regarding them.
"Snakes . . . make you hurt yourself."
Now I see snakes everywhere. The garden hose is a snake. The dog toy becomes a snake. The stick looks like a snake. Everything long and slender has suddenly mutated to become a snake. I jump. I run into things. I cuss.
And I keep rotating sheep and goats around the house so every shred of vegetation that the little bastards would use for concealment is GONE!
And Other Half wonders why I refuse to collect eggs in the dark!
I do want to add one note:
Don't you reckon that the Easter Egg Hunt on the ranch next door was modified a bit last Sunday?
(I'm just saying . . . )
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
"Hey Frank! Lookat that."
"What? Tha dog?"
"Yeah, Dude, lookat those googly eyes! Gives me tha creeps."
"Earl, Man, get a grip. It's a just a little dog. He's maybe 40 pounds drippin' wet.
"Oh Frank! He's comin' this way! Run!"
"Pul-ease, Earl! Get a grip! It's just a DOG."
"Seriously Frank! Those googly eyes are comin' this way!"
"Earl, Earl, Earl . . . He's on the OTHER side of the fence, Dude. Get ahold o' yerself."
"That's a good point, Frank. He's on the other side of the fence. Yeah, yeah, yer right. On the other side o' tha fence."
"Of course, I'm right, Earl. Stick with me, Dude."
"Run, Earl! Run! He's gonna git us!"
"I thought you said he was on the other side of the fence, Frank!"
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Friday and Saturday the boys spent the day building a new cow pen. Easter Sunday we worked cattle in the new pen.
Step 1: Run cattle into roping arena.
Step 2: Run cattle through new rear gate that leads to new pen which leads to new chute which leads to new head gate!
Step 3: Catch cow in head gate. Doctor any cows that need doctoring. ID Tag the calves.
Step 4: Release cattle to allow them to run back into roping arena.
Sounds easy. Right?
There were a couple of hitches in the plan.
Hitch 1: Cattle had NO intention of running from arena through new gate.
Solution: Border Collie
Hitch 2: We didn't inform the cattle that they were supposed to run from the head gate back into the roping arena.
Solution: Border Collie
Cowboy moved the cattle from the arena into the holding pen. The cowboys (Other Half, Son, & Dearest Friend Doug) moved the cattle through the chute and into the head gate.
With the occasional help of a Border Collie
Lily picked up the cattle as they came through the gate and ran them back into the arena. A job that would have taken hours otherwise, took less than an hour with 3 Cowhands, 2 Border Collies, and a new headgate.
And the girls?
What did we do?
Contrary to what the boys will tell you, we did not sit on the couch eating bon bons watching Oprah while the boys worked.
Dear Friend Debbie supervised Cowboy,
. . . and I handled Lily. And I took pictures. And I let the bull get away because I was too busy taking pictures. So Lily had to go get him back. Ooops! Ma Bad!
"No problem, Mom. I gotcha covered!"
Saturday, 23 April 2011
Bertha is one of the latest additions to the farm. She is a nice ewe but has a loud mouth. Seriously. That's what the lady told me when I bought her.
"She has a loud mouth. She will just stand in the pasture and holler for no particular reason. No lost lamb. Not hungry. Just screaming to hear herself scream."
If her mouth is empty . . .
. . . she's screaming.
Since I have another one just like that, I wasn't too concerned. So I brought her home and plunked her in the paddock with the weanlings, where she would fit right in. So what if she screams? Everyone in there is screaming. But yesterday . . . oh dear!
Yesterday the weanlings and Bertha, were in the back yard and I was plinking away on the computer. I heard Bertha on the porch screaming. I checked her. She was fine. She was peeking through the dog nose smudges on the sliding glass door. Once she saw me, Bertha was convinced that this indeed, was the pickup window for the drive-thru restaurant and amped up her screaming.
The Border Collie was beside herself. She is the self-appointed hall-monitor/taker-of-names-when-the-teacher's-out/crossing-guard kid who firmly believes that it is her duty to make this farm run as tight as a battleship, and sheep begging at the back door did NOT float.
I ignored Bertha and went back to typing. The Border Collie settled down under the table. And that's when I heard it . . . the unmistakable sound of someone trying to break in the house! YES! I KNOW! Can you believe it??!! That stupid ewe was banging the glass on the back door.
Aging Sliding Glass Door vs Hooves & Forehead of Impatient Sheep = Catastrophe
I couldn't get out of my chair fast enough. It clattered back as I catapulted across the room. Border Collie led the way. Fortunately before either of us could get there, my Livestock Guardian Dog took care of the problem. Believe it or not, this creature can move very quickly.
Just as I rounded the corner, I saw Briar body-slam Bertha. Normally she wouldn't consider bouncing a full-grown ewe, but in the instance, even the DOG knows sheep who bang on glass doors end up in freezers! Border Collie was voting for this anyway. She was livid. I flung back the door to verbally abuse the sheep and Bertha grinned at me,
"There you are!"
Lambs were gathering on the porch to see what Bertha had found. It was definitely time for some Border Collie intervention. I gave the word, and she moved them off the porch as Bertha was placing her order in the drive-thru window.
"I'll have some alfalfa. I said, ALFALFA. Hey! Is this thing working? I said 'I'll have some alfalfa. Hold the fries."
(And to answer your questions, "No!" Bertha was not a bottle baby. She came off a 600 acre sheep ranch.)
Friday, 22 April 2011
I think my Indian name must be "Walks With Goats."
Each morning I take the Dairy Goats for a walk. They're learning to browse. (What goat has to be taught to browse???!!!! I KNOW!!! Whodathunkit?!) Nevertheless, this little group has never been allowed to free range so the concept of browsing is a bit alien to them.
They're used to eating Goat Chow and alfalfa, not trimming fence lines, but they follow like puppies while I sip coffee. (no, the dogs don't come along on this walk) They are beginning to discover honeysuckle.
I may have to re-name Clover, since for the life of me, I keep calling her "Copper," (Gray Hair Syndrome) We are ending our little walks with an arrival in the Kitchen Garden/Pet Cemetery. The goats were a bit reluctant to enter the garden at first, (Understandable, since 6 dogs are buried there!) but they have now gotten into the hang of pruning roses, jasmine, weeds, and lemon trees. I like keeping them there because I can peek out the window and monitor their progress.
Through the Kitchen window
Thursday, 21 April 2011
I'm pleased to announce that Trace is "Back In Bidness!"
After weeks of trying to keep a baby Border Collie quiet and confined . . .
. . . so his broken leg could heal . . .
. . . we have let loose The Beast!
(As if we were ever able to keep him quiet anyway! But please don't tell the Vet!)
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
I call this creature the White-Chested Sneaky Snake.
When I'm headed to the barn and I don't want 5 dogs running with me, I put them, one by one, into a kennel on the back porch. Dutifully, each pup slides behind the bars. Every pup, except one . . . the White-Chested Sneaky Snake. This creature hides. It hides behind the Toy Tub. It hides behind the Tomato pot. It hides behind the barrel. It flattens itself into the pavement and stays really, really, REALLY still, like a little green lizard, blending into her environment. It wants to go to the barn. The White-Chested Sneaky Snake knows that I will, at some point, need her help . . .
. . . because there are sheep at the barn.
"Are we going? Are we going?" Are we going? What are we doing? What are we doing? Are you ready now?"
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
How To Confuse A Livestock Guardian Dog
Step 1: Wean lambs
Step 2: Add some more adult sheep and a few goats
Step 3: Move rams daily
Step 4: Wean more lambs so the screaming is in "surround-sound"
And for the final step . . . have the Dear Friend put HER sheep on the property next door!
Poor Briar saw the sheep next door and had a mental melt-down this morning.
No, not your sheep. Cathy's sheep.
No! Cathy's sheep on Roberto's land. NOT your sheep.
"MY sheep! My sheep! MINE!"
Do NOT go over there! The fence is hot!
"Not my sheep? Why not?"
Because they're Cathy's sheep.
"Why not My Sheep? I hear sheep screaming. My Sheep screaming. Sheep not happy."
Mommy won't be happy either if you climb that fence!
The sheep won't shut up! I cannot stand the stress!"
I feel the same way, Dog. I feel the same way.
Sunday, 17 April 2011
The best way to manage the property is multi-species mob grazing with fewer animals. So we're selecting the best and selling the rest. (but keeping Roanie!)
That said, the dairy goats are still staying. They are part of the program. Goats are a pain in the butt, but a necessary part of farmland management, and great comic relief.
Besides, although meat goats, and sheep are currency, bottle-raised dairy goats are pets who double as a lawn crew . . .
I keep trying to get good pictures of this goat, but it hasn't happened.
This is what I get.
And this. . . peeking from under my shirt tail.
Someone told this goat we were culling critters, so she is making darned sure that we aren't cutting dairy goats from the team. Cute and cuddly tends to stay. Clover knows this!
Thursday, 14 April 2011
I'm at a Death Investigation Conference this week (such is the nature of my job) and Other Half is in charge of taking care of my sheep and goats.
Do I feel in the least bit guilty about saddling a cow man with the responsibility of sheep and goats? Not a bit! How many times does he jet off for work and leave ME to take care of his cows?!! So Ladies and Gentlemen, it's payback time! I did take great delight in telling him that he had to make a special effort to sit down with the dairy goats to pet and cuddle them. Yes, there was a moment of silence after I told him that was one of the chores.
But I predict that this little girl will charm him like she charms everyone else.
"May I have a tummy rub?"
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Trot on in to see the newest Spring Brings!
This fella is bred to work cows. (Colonel Freckles on top/Double Hancock on bottom) Very nice baby! Very calm. He is already dragging calves. Other Half already has friends trying to talk him out of this guy. The poor fellow came from North Texas and went from temps in the 30s to temps in the 80s down here (with high humidity!) I can just hear him saying (with a George Lopez accent)
"I can't breathe! I can't breathe!"
And water, he drinks LOTS of water. (Give him a few weeks to slick out and he'll be just fine.)
Very nice big-boned girls to add to the breeding program. Like 'em a lot! (I might just call the one up front "Big Bertha!)
And I just couldn't help myself! I've wanted dairy goats for years. The deal was too good to pass up. (package deal from Sheep Goddess) I've been eating their cheese, and bottle feeding their babies, so when Sheep Goddess needed to part with bottle babies to make way for more, I ended up with goats again.
Calypso & Swan
AND . . . I just happened to fall in love with this girl who is pregnant. She decided she wanted to come home with me too. (Despite the headaches, there's something about goats that I just love!)
And so there were goats again at Failte Gate Farm! (somehow I knew the state of being goat-less wouldn't last long!)
But wait! There's more!!!!
The latest, greatest addition to the family . . .
more drumroll . . .
Is this not the most adorable little face??!! It won't be long before his momma has him on a horse! He will be riding The Supervisor's pony in no time! Remember THIS little girl?
Two years later . . .
It doesn't come much more adorable than this!
(No bias at all!)
Saturday, 09 April 2011
I finally found a breed of sheep that meets with Other Half's approval! Check these out! They're perfect! Easy on the fences. They eat practically nothing. Not loud. No shearing. No health problems . . . yet!
Then there could be some serious health problems!
I think they may be a bit difficult for the Border Collie to herd though! However something tells me she has other plans!
And she may not be the only one! Run, Little Sheep! Run!
This breed is also pretty cheap at Kroger's:
Friday, 08 April 2011
Spring has sprung!
Pony hair is everywhere!
Hairy ponies everywhere!
In reality, despite the size, everyone is a horse. (but I still call them all "ponies")
Montoya is lonely.
He wants to be with the minis. Cows just don't cut it. He wants to be with horses, even pint-sized horses. So this morning I caved and put them together. The minis, who need to be on a dry lot because they get fat when they even sniff spring grass, raced to the spring pasture.
and everyone lived happily ever after . . .
. . . until the mean owner decides they've had enough grass
and they need to go back in their dirt lot again . . .
Wednesday, 06 April 2011
Timing is everything, and every woman knows this. As an illustration, let me share the events of last night:
While peacefully sitting at my desk, I receive call from Other Half, who is also at work. He is working a Big Multi-Agency Operation and has been away from home quite a bit. The purpose of this call is to inform me that he has found a litter of raccoons. Since he is actually in a loud restaurant it is hard to hear the details, but the long and short of it is Momma and litter are slated for death, so he rescued the litter.
I inform him emphatically that we can NOT keep a litter of raccoons. He reluctantly agrees. (reluctantly!!!!) I remind him that it is AGAINST THE LAW! That fails to deter him. I remind him that he has been an absentee husband for almost 3 weeks, leaving Son and I to handle HIS animals and we will NOT be happy if he brings home MORE responsibilities!!! This seems to strike a chord. I offer to make some phone calls to find wildlife rehabbers in his area. He agrees and goes back to dinner. Minutes later I call him with two phone numbers and then forget about the raccoons.
All is well until I call to inform him that I am leaving work. It is at this point that he shares that he is STILL, 3 hours later, in possession of baby raccoons. Do what??!!! (He only called one number and they didn't return his call.)
I throw a Giant Hissy Fit. He points out that he was not driving the car, thus not in control of his own destiny, and everyone else wanted to eat, not deal with raccoons. Angry Women aren't the least bit sympathetic to this excuse. Angry Woman points out that poor baby raccoons have been waiting for 3 HOURS . . . and she will NOT be happy if he comes home with a litter of raccoons for her to take care of while he is out playing Secret Agent Man. (cue music)
Other Half assures Angry She-Bitch that he will drop Innocent Babies off at the SPCA. Angry She-Bitch points out that the SPCA is NOT OPEN at this hour. Other Half counters that he did this with a baby owl last year and the facility is always manned. He then asks if we have any Kitten Formula. Angry She-Bitch goes postal. He promises her that he will not bring home a litter of raccoons.
Minutes later an elated Other Half calls to inform her that Precious Babies are now happily snoozing under a heat lamp at the SPCA. He is quite proud of himself. Angry She-Bitch is slightly satisfied, but since she sees the door open . . . she runs through it. She takes this opportunity to inform Other Half that she has just purchased two baby Nubian goats. He strokes.
"Do what??!! You just chewed my ass for thirty minutes about responsibility and you bought two more GOATS!?!?!?"
Less-Angry She-Bitch now proceeds to explain that she has been playing with the milk goat mommas and these babies for weeks now. AND . . . the cheese in the refrigerator is from these momma goats. AND . . . HE was the one who talked her into selling the last of her Boer goats. AND she has dearly regretted that sale. AND Grandbaby and Grandbaby-On-The-Way want goat milk.
Helpless before the onslaught of Female Logic, Other Half just gives up. Less-Angry She-Bitch feels slightly guilty for being such a 'bitch' about a Litter of Helpless Baby Raccoons (which are ILLEGAL) and tells him that he is a Good Man for not letting the Pest Control Guy kill the Baby Raccoons. She reminds herself that his heart is in the right place even when he's busy playing Secret Agent Man.
Sunday, 03 April 2011
I'm seriously considered giving Briar a haircut. Maybe a puppy cut, or one of those Portugese Water Dog clips. She'll probably look silly but I think she'll feel better. Briar spends so much time in the pond that her butt is beginning to matt. Combing her out isn't much of an option because by the time I get up in the morning, she's normally already taken her morning swim. Then we take a walk, and she takes another swim. Briar is a closet-hippo! Combing out a wet dog is not an option for me.
Not only is she rarely dry, but she smells like a fish bowl (much like Trace!) Soooo . . . that's why I'm seriously considering giving Briar a 'wash & wear' haircut.
Look! I spy an Albino Hippo!
"Hey! A fish!"
"Look! My TAIL!!!"
"OH! There's my tail!!!"
Saturday, 02 April 2011
He still calls for Sultan. He calls. He listens. He waits for a response. He calls again. It breaks my heart. Tonight I pulled him out and played with him. It was therapy for both of us.
I open the stall door and invite him into the aisle. Like a overgrown dog, he eagerly bows, backs, and sidepasses for cookies. I pull out his hot pink brushes and rub him down. His world is getting back in balance. The grinding of his teeth lulls me to a state of Here & Now as he munches the hay and I comb his tail. Three calico cats drop from the rafters to land in the hay beside him. He gives no notice, happy instead, for the company. From time to time he turns and gazes at me, a mouth full of hay, and I remember him as a weanling again. I have spent so many hours combing his mane, combing out the tangles, combing away my problems. This horse has always been therapy for me. Tonight we were therapy for each other.
I groom him. We play. And as I leave the barn, his cries echo through the night again.
Saturday, 02 April 2011
The End Of The Trail
Today was a good day to die. The longest walk I ever take is from the horse trailer, down the path that leads behind the clinic. It's a beautiful path, with tall grass and wildflowers. Trees line either side. Cows bellow from the pasture nearby. I think they call both a welcome, and a farewell. The cows see this walk played out all too often. I've walked this path too many times, for both myself, and dear friends. It's never an easy walk, and it helps to have a girlfriend walk with you - to hold your hand, to lend a shoulder, to remind you to cut a lock of mane and tail.
I shared 26 years with Sultan, my sexy senior citizen. I'll miss him, but I know he lived a long, good life. I bought him from his breeder as a four year old, and he never knew an unkind hand. He loved his saddle and his horse trailer. They were his "tickets to adventure." His farrier and his vet loved him - which says a lot for a stallion. He was a model citizen, he was a great horse. I'm honored to have shared the journey with him.
Friday, 01 April 2011
Look at this heifer.
She looks innocent enough, doesn't she? Look again.
See! There it is! She's plotting!
Daisy Mae has GOT TO GO! (at least that's what I informed Other Half this morning when I called him in a rage) She is a cow. Cows belong with other cows, behind the fence, chewing their cuds. Daisy Mae didn't get that memo.
She is a registered Santa Gertrudis heifer. We plan to breed her to another registered Santa Gertrudis. Unfortunately our bull is an Angus. (you see the problem)
Thus we moved Daisy Mae to the Sheep Farm so she didn't get bred to an Angus. Unfortunately she has proceeded to walk through fences like a red bulldozer. (no barbed wire) Chain link fencing is NOTHING to a red bulldozer in heat.
As if that wasn't a big enough sin, this week Daisy Mae escalated her criminal activities. She is now bullying the stallion out of his food. YES!!! (my stallion is a weenie . . . )
Sexy Senior Citizen
This is how meal time runs now:
Walk to barn as sheep scream in stereo from both sides of the path. Enter feed room. Lock dogs in feed room. Scoop up sheep food. Spread sheep food among various feeders. Note that Blue Heeler has escaped from feed room. Wonder (???)Feed weaned lambs. Feed rams. Go back to feed room. Scoop horse food. Lock Blue Heeler back in feed room with everyone else.
Shovel feed to stallion. Move to next stall and shovel feed to gelding. Head to cows with hay. Note large red cow has moved stallion out of his stall. Stallion moves in with Gelding. Gelding runs out and moves Red Cow out. Red Cow barrels toward Stallion. Stallion exits stall and runs toward stall with Gelding. Gelding leaves stall and evicts Red Cow. Red Cow just moves stallion out of his feed again.
Enraged Human phones Spouse to scream into his answering machine. Spouse wisely decides to allow her some time before he returns call. Note that Blue Heeler has escaped from feed room again. (???)
It is time for Daisy Mae to return to her breeder so when she comes home she can go back out with THE COWS!