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I”ve been going through some of my earlier posts and decided to share them now and then. Here’s one I did about Bad Hair Days. And can’t we all relate?

Two Old Horses and Me

I’m not good at doing hair. It’s simply a set of skills I don’t possess. Oh, I think I’ve managed well enough over the years, thanks to great haircuts and a slew of product. That’s how hairdressers refer to gel, mousse, spray, and the other magic potions they use to make our hair shiny and gorgeous.

I am in awe of those women who know how to French braid their hair, or sweep their locks into a magnificent twist or some other updo. And anyone with curls goes immediately to the top of my list of big envy.

Looking back over my childhood, I realize that my mother wasn’t that great at doing hair either. Who knew this was  genetic?

Her lack of skill was a bit of a problem given that she had three daughters. She compensated by giving us Dutch bobs when we were little girls. You know…

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Pepper-stubborn

As a parent, I was never big on using threats to coerce my son to behave. I wasn’t one of those mothers who gave away her authority with comments like, “You just wait until your father gets home. He’ll deal with you.”

Just typing the words gives me a rather creepy feeling.

But in the spirit of honest and transparent communication, I must fess up to something.

It’s about Miss Pepper.

In her old age she has apparently decided that she doesn’t really have to do what I ask of her. At least not all the time.

For example, when I ask her to walk back through the gate into the pasture when she’s finished eating, she will sometimes balk. She’ll stand stock still and look at me with an expression that says, “Nope, I’m not going back. And you can’t make me.”

Then she plants herself and waits for my next move.

And yes, I’ve done the recommended horse behavior things.

“I know what you’re doing,” she screams with her eyes. “And it won’t work.” She’s well-versed in horse whisperer techniques.

 

I stand in front of her applying pressure to the lead rope, not yielding until she steps forward. She takes one TINY step and stops.

We do this frustrating little two-step for awhile, until, and this is important and maddening, Rick walks toward her. He doesn’t even have to do anything.

His presence alone prompts her to move. She hustles herself through the gate easy as pie, leaving me dumbfounded.

 

“Really? Girlfriend we need to talk.”

She ignores me.

I try again.

“Seriously Pepper this is 2014, the twenty-first century. Remember women’s lib? Feminism?”

That logic is lost on our Miss P.

 

I don’t know if it is that Rick is bigger and stronger than I am—definitely the alpha of our little herd of two, or that she is just messing with me.

Or maybe a little of both.

I suspect any serious horse people reading this are shaking their heads in disgust. They’d be justified.

 

With horses, and life, it is always something!

Chickadee-farrier

On New Year’s Eve, the Golden Girls had a cowboy pedicure – aka the farrier trimmed their hooves. I am always so grateful for his gentle manner with the old girls. He whispers sweet nothings to them as he allows them to set the pace. No quick movements or jerking of legs.

He’s been a true gem.

This was his first time to meet Chickadee. As he worked on her he said to us,

“There’s a place in Heaven for you for taking on the care and expenses of another old horse. Not many would do it.”

Rick and I looked at each other, shrugged and smiled.

We have a thing for old animals.

It was never really a question about taking Chickadee into our tribe. Truth be told, we’ve loved her for a long time. This latest move was just about making it official.

We weren’t always so enamored of old horses.

I suppose that came with our own animals growing older. And with us joining them. There are no “spring chickens” among us anymore.

 Loving these old animals has taught me a great deal.

I think the main thing I’ve learned is patience.

Or maybe kindness.

Or tolerance.

Or stillness.

When you lovingly care for an old animal and look into their eyes, you see such gratitude.

These are old souls who have much to teach us. And I am trying with all my might to learn their lessons.

I know that I’m a better person having known them–kinder, gentler, less quick to judge. And for that I am forever grateful.

Pepper-at-car

One of the consequences of keeping the doors of your vehicle open while you feed your horses is the persistent fly that wants to hitch a ride.

Make that plural.

Those pesky critters just love to hang out in our car and dive-bomb us all the way into town.

With all the gorgeous open space at the pasture you’d think that was where they’d want to be.

But no! It’s the inside of our car that holds the appeal.

Go figure.

It does provide us with hours of entertainment. I’ve dubbed it “fly wrangling.”

Through trial and error, we’ve learned many ways to encourage them to exit. My husband is fond of the “herding with his ball cap” method. I’m more likely to roll the window down and shoo.

We have found that flies cannot exit a moving vehicle. I guess the wind pressure is too great. That means at each stoplight from the pasture to our house, we power the window down, do our shooing or herding action, and then power it back up until the next stoplight.

See what I mean about entertainment?

Big fun, I’m telling you.

In spite of these dedicated efforts, at least a few flies remain in our car.

So when we get home, we try to remember to leave at least one window cracked open. And if we forget, our little hitchhikers remind us, so that the next time we get in the car, we begin the stoplight tango again.

 

I tell you these things so that you know that keeping horses is not all glamour and romance.

In fact, come to think of it, there’s not much glamour.

Or romance.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Time for Tuesday Beauty

I picked up this beautiful Talavera Tile dish on a recent trip to New Mexico. And quite by accident I set a fresh poblano chile pepper in it.

I really liked the way it looked.

There are times when something beautiful just sneaks up on you and thrills your senses.

This was one.

It is so often the most simple things that give me the greatest pleasure.

We live in a beautiful world!

Time for Tuesday Beauty.

 

Sometimes we are blessed with a quick glimpse of something magical, and then as quickly as it comes, it leaves.

That’s what I experienced with this shot.

I called the horses in and they started eating their grain. I looked down the fence line and saw these amazing shadows on the clean, smooth snow.

I took the photo and then turned to the horses for a minute. When I looked back, the sun had changed and the shadows were gone.

We live in a beautiful world!

 

 

Bud and Pepper are big on celebrating holidays, and today is a very special day – Talk Like a Pirate Day. Our good friend Pete reminded us of the exact date!

You might think horses have no sense of humor, though you’d be wrong. Our two old sweeties can be quite the comedians. Today in the spirit of total fun and silliness, Bud and Pepper offer you their best pirate lingo for the pasture.

From Bud:

  • Shiver me timbers, is that the hay wagon I spy?
  • Arrr! Get that bilge rat out of me sight.
  • Toss those hay cubes to me smartly me lass.
  • Avast me proud beauty! Leave that scum bucket and return to your true home.
  • Drink up me hearties, there’s more grog where that came from.
From Pepper:
  • Don’t even think about calling me your proud beauty!
  • Clear a path for me, and step to it mateys.
  • Ahoy you salty pasture dog.
  • Arrr! Get me a hay cube or you’ll walk the plank.
  • You’ll not be gettin’ your filthy hands on me booty.
Try it yourself.
Don’t let today be another ho hum day. Join Bud and Pepper and thousands of folks around the world and talk like a pirate.
Aye Aye Cap’n!
P.S. Leave a comment below with your favorite pirate phrase. Bud and Pepper are always looking for more material.

“Is that Appy yours?”

“We just love Bud. He’s so cute.”

“How’s old Bud doin’ these days?”

These are the comments we get on a regular basis when it comes to Bud. He’s always been the star of the pasture. He is Mr. Personality, and has several things in his favor. For one, he’s easy to find. He’s often been the only appaloosa in the group.

Or one of a very select few.

And his white blanket is easy to see when you’re looking into the pasture. We can even spot him from the highway when we drive past, unlike Miss Pepper, who kind of blends in with the other dark horses.

Earlier in the week I gave you ten things about Miss. P. It’s only fitting that I share my list of ten about Bud.

  1. Bud has an innate sweetness about him. You can see it in the expression on his face. Sweet, easy going, and good- natured are words that describe the Budster.
  2. Bud is loyal. His devotion to Pepper is heart warming. Even when she chooses to be with her Mustang boyfriend, Bud remains with her.
  3. In the glory days, Bud was a leader. He worked hard to be the alpha of the herd. And he deserved it. He was a force to be reckoned with.
  4. Bud has graciously allowed any and all children to sit or ride on him. No complaints. We absolutely trust him.
  5. Bud is a good eater. He is a charter member of the “clean pan club.” There have only been a handful of times when he didn’t slick up every bit of grain in his pan.
  6. He has a sweet tooth, and is fond of Ranchway Horse Candy and sweet feed. Neither of which are very good for him with the Cushing’s Disease. But we still give him a little. His enthusiasm for snacks is quite entertaining.
  7. Bud absolutely adores Rick. When he hears Rick’s whistle, which isn’t much of a whistle at all, Bud comes running. Granted it usually also means food. (See number 5 above.) They’ve been together a long time though, and their bond is clear.
  8. Bud is solid, dependable, and predictable. He is the epitome of the Midwestern value system. (Kind of like Rick. Hmm…)
  9. Bud has a heart the size of Texas. He wants to please us and will keep going if we ask him. These days we don’t ask much, except to help him enjoy his life. But in the old days, he was a worker.
  10. Bud is an old soul. You can see it in the depth of his eyes. He knows things about how the world works. I actually think he is a mystic. And I feel blessed to know him.

Now it’s your turn. What’s on your list of ten about your animals? I’d love to hear.

It’s official. I am crazy in love.

Over the moon.

Ga Ga.

Mesmerized.

Infatuated.

In love.

And the cause of this crazy love?

My grandson. Eight months of adorableness.

We’ve been deep in baby land for the past few days. It’s the reason I have dishes in my sink, a pile of laundry waiting to be washed, and no blog post written last Friday.

Babies have a way of focusing a person. Baby time is different than work time. It’s even different than play time. Somehow with babies, the universe folds into itself and the passage of time becomes something entirely new.

Hours take on new meaning. For that matter, so do days. If you’re smart, you sleep when the baby sleeps. And when he’s awake, you spend time with him.

You play, you laugh, you cuddle, you dance.

And time passes. I haven’t experienced this since my son was a baby. I’d forgotten the powerful pull of baby time.

Yes, I’ve become a doting grandmother. Proud of it too! So please bear with me as I share my excitement with you. I’m warning you now that there may be more than one blog post about this most important addition to our family.

As you can see from the photos, we’ve introduced the horses. You can never start too young when it comes to loving horses. I think we’ve got a great beginning.

Our little family is going home today and my life will head back toward regular time.

I’ll get the dishes out of the sink, the laundry washed, and back on schedule with the blog.

But I tell you this, something within me will be changed.

When your heart cracks open with so much love, it never shrinks back to its original size.

I have a confession to share with you.

I’m terrified of the electric fence that runs along the boundary of the pasture adjacent to the one where our sweet old things live.

I come within inches of it every time I open or close the gate.

It scares the bejeebers out of me. I have this irrational fear that I will bump into the white electrified wires and get knocked on my behind.

Or worse.

I don’t even know what would happen.

Or how it would feel.

Other than bad.

Really, really bad.

I recently read an interview with a writer who specializes in thrillers. He commented that he allowed himself to be jolted with a Taser so he would be able to write the experience with accuracy.

Okay. That would not be me.

Ever in a million years.

I’ll switch from my mystery to writing romance novels, or self help books before inviting someone to hit me with a shot of electricity.

For research!

You will never find someone getting tasered in my writing.

Does that mean I’m not a serious writer?

I don’t think so.

I hope not.

My husband suggested I should bump into the fence, just for the experience. He said it might help me get over my fear.

I gave him another of my long-time married couple, what are you thinking looks.

He knew right away that he’d wandered into dangerous marital territory.

He recanted and said he was just teasing.

Trying to get a rise out of me.

It worked.

I also worry about the horses. I fear that Pepper will accidentally brush into the electric fence while she is standing at the truck eating her grain.

Of course that worry is unfounded.

Horses are much smarter than I am when it comes to the electric fence.

They know exactly how far away to stand.

They can sense the electric current.

Amigo standing a safe distance from the dreaded white wires.

One horse forum I was lurking on suggested that horses use their chin hairs to sense the electricity.

I couldn’t verify that, but it sounded promising.

These days, I have a chin hair or two. But not the powerful sensing ability of a horse.

So I think I’ll stick with my original plan to avoid contact with the fence.

At all times.

Period.

End of discussion.

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