With the family away, I wrote Friday until 6:00pm in order to earn the right to drive the tractor until 8:00pm. I ran the bushhog on our far field while keeping a close on eye on the ground for rocks and creatures. Last year I stopped just short of a partridge on her eggs. No partridges were disturbed by me this time, but I saw a painted turtle and jumped off to move him out of harm’s way. As I bent down, instead of curling up inside his shell, he ran. I got back on the tractor laughing. What if all turtles can run, but it’s one of those things that just isn’t done? What if this one was running because he was too young (or too socially awkward) to know better?
Boy one’s barn chores were uneventful except for Misty, who snuck in behind me to the sheep barn. The children love the pony. Boy one talks to her, grabs her mane, cajoles her, puts his arm around her, pulls her, and generally does whatever he wants with her like she’s his sister. Misty and I don’t have that kind of relationship. I spoke, she ignored. I pushed, she rolled her eyes. I didn’t try pulling because it seemed ill advised. After ten minutes, I went and got the whip, which I didn’t plan to use but I wasn’t going to tell her that. She saw me come in the barn and stand in the corner. She glared at me and took one deliberate step at a time toward the door. Before she left she turned and barred every one of her senior citizen horse teeth at me.
Outside she walked around to her stall which was not in great shape. I pointed out to her, while cleaning up her stall with a close eye on her, that the crap she was standing in was thanks to her boy who could do no wrong, whereas the clean floor with fresh straw was thanks now to me.
The rest of my weekend retreat was writing, plus a birthday lunch for a friend. I got drenched doing Saturday night’s chores. It felt like a fitting baptism for the new hope I was feeling. I gave Misty a night off on her diet so she could stay outside to eat all night with the cows. For my part, I found myself a good documentary (on sugar!) and settled in to watch with not a stitch of laundry folding attempted.
The gang returned safe and sound to a house with no electricity and one roll of toilet paper. Everyone took it in stride for the hour of waiting. On the camping trip, the family found clay, discovered a cliff they could climb, watched a raccoon try to steal their food in the middle of the day, saw a porcupine on their hike, and swam in the still frigid lake. A resounding success all around.
I don’t know what a first post should say so I won’t try to say it. I went out to the barn today to measure from the withers on Shorty the miniature horse. While there I became overcome with grief at the plight of the horses. Best friends. Separated five days ago because of the screaming in the night and bold attempts to take the friendship to another level. Many attempts have been made to sell ill-begotten male horse. He is currently available for free to a good home, although I foresee the day when we will be paying someone to take him. A monthly installment plan or something.
Out at the barn everyone seemed jumpy. Feeling stupid that I am not a horse person, Shorty and I agreed on approximate measurements, whereby I looked at his withers and measured the gate near him at about where it seemed right. I had asked my husband about letting Shorty out again – how long can a mare be in heat anyway? He said, forget it, we just need to get that horse off the property.
It all seemed so sad and wistful and I don’t know, I just know that after I measured the
gate horse (info for the latest person helping us divest ourselves of said creature), guilt took over. Just for a little bit, said I. The husband cannot help that he has no heart. That his eyes cannot see the poor bedraggled animals. Confused. Wanting normal. Not knowing what to do. Innocent boy horse in barn while girl horse grazes depressed or doesn’t even bother, just stands there.
The rest is a blur . . . I let Shorty out – it being the right thing and all. They said hello rather quickly. Mare Misty turned and it became rather evident even to this equine neophyte that she was in heat in a seriously streaming kind of way. Shorty was rather quick on the draw, proving to the naked eye that in fact his diminished stature is rather no trouble at all to overcome with full size pony.
But this was not going to happen. Not on my watch.
I yelled bloody murder and waved my arms. They took off across the pasture for a little more privacy. Not to be outdone I ran, still yelling so as to ruin the mood, to get a bucket of grain. Thought on the way by to grab a broom. Couldn’t shake the warning from the vet that when she is in heat, he won’t take competition. He’ll come after you and mean to hurt you. So there I am, tearing after them in the field, bucket of grain in one hand, broom in the other. They slow down and I call their names, trying to change the tone. Communicate that we are one happy little family again and here I am out with a little treat. Not sure what even made me think to bring one out. Providence maybe.
Shorty noticed. His slow first steps turned into a dead run, so I dumped some grain on the ground and ran to the other side of the round bale. I wasn’t sure if he’d go for the grain or if we’d still be circling the round bale waiting for him to kill me when the kids got home.
He went for the grain. I snuck back to the barn and managed to get the mare to follow me. Kept my broom though. Finally got everybody back to where they were. Came in the house shaking. Took a while to get my heart to stop pounding out of my chest. Still cannot find a chart that lists how many calories I burned this way.
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