Dreaming Like a Baby

Our local library launched its summer reading program this week with the theme Blazing the Trails.  It is phenomenal and the librarians have put an immense amount of work into this.

On opening day for the Tiny Tots, we dug for pennies in sand, panned for gold, lassoed ponies, raced stick horses and sat real ponies.  EK loves the library and loves the books.  She wouldn’t put her book down before getting on the pony.  She walked around with her book open like she was reading it.

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The next day at the library, a trick roper entertained us with his horse, his rope, and his dog.

Understandably, EK’s new favorite word is “hosh”.

Early this morning, still sleeping but stirring, eyes shut, she rolled over in bed and let out a soft “neigh”.

Ah, the sweet dreams of babes.

Peace, pecks, and pigs—Randomness

It’s a peaceful kind of morning.  No hustle, no bustle.

There’s a cool breeze, and it’s a nice respite before the West Texas July sun follows it’s usual path in the cloudless sky and the daytime temps rise to scorch and wither.  But after all, it is summer.  What else do we expect.

EK and I sat outside for a spell.  Me with my coffee, she with her glee.

Watching the world through the eyes of a baby brings on a new light.  I read that every day to a baby is like a visit to Paris for the first time for us.  The new smells, the new sights.  We would be on high alert, taking it all in.

Her yard is a far cry from Paris, I would have to imagine since I’ve never visited there.  But oh, how she takes it all in.  She notices the smallest things.  A leaf blowing across the yard, a black bird flying to rest in a tree top, the bark of Drew and Grace from the backyard saying, “We want out, let us out, we want to see you this morning too”, the choo choo whistle as it rolls down the tracks.

A chicken flew up on the arm of our chair with her beady eye and pointy beak.  Me, I’m a bit intimidated.  I don’t know why I suddenly became afraid of my chickens, as if they could peck me to death or something.  I usually shoo them away afraid they might peck EK, but today we just sat.  The chicken jerked her chicken neck around studying us, and EK stared back.  I put EK’s hand on her feathers to let her feel.

The other day my mom mentioned how the baby needs one of those toys, you know the kind we used to have as a kid.  Where you pull the string and the animal makes it’s sound.  I said, “Mom.  Look around.  Why does she need that?  We have horses that say neigh, dogs that say ruff, chickens that say bawk, cows that say moo, right here.”

That seemed to satisfy my mom, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she pulls up with a pig in the passenger seat one day.

 

 

First Day on the Job with Daddy

Yesterday, EK went to work with J-Dub.  He’s breaking her in young.  He documented their day with pictures.

Driving lessons in the feed truck.
Someone has to get the gate.
Daddy and Emma counting cows.
There’s dinner……and I don’t mean steak.
Closing the gate.

Feeding G.G.
feeling the grass with her footsies for the first time.
Relaxing in the wildflowers after a long day’s work.

Caught

I love this picture.

 

It reminds me of the child who denies being in the cookie jar despite the crumbs on his face and the chocolate on his hands.

“Hay?  What hay?  We aren’t eating the forbidden hay.”

  Caught with their ears up. 

And their pants down. 

If only they were wearing them.

Birthing Babies

My husband, whose Superman cape is presently hanging in the closet while he lounges in his Lazy Boy has a pretty in-depth resume’.  Among his many talents include cowboss, gourmet chef, drumming dynamo,  and husband extraordinaire.  But most recently, he has added foal nanny.  The ranch he works for decided to buy a horse.  A horse who happened to be pregnant.  The horse nanny position was assigned to J-Dub.  So he’s been watching a bred mare for quite some time now checking her for signs of birthing.  Normally, a horse would have a foal and raise it in the pasture and life would go on without any interference from man. 

But this mare is a bit on the high-end, with good breeding for a cutting horse.  The hopes are that the baby will have good cutting horse tendencies and make a nice investment.

It’s a gamble.  There’s probably better odds betting 13 black with a spin of a roulette wheel.  But I like to play it safe anyway.

Due to the investment of this animal,  instead of putting her out into a pasture to have a baby, my husband built her a nice little stall and has been horse-sitting.  

Much like Prissy in Gone With the Wind, J-Dub “don’t know nothing ’bout birthing no babies.”  Except cows.  Who are put in the pasture to calve.

The reason he must watch this horse closely is the very small window of time in which the foal needs to be “imprint trained”. 

Much like Prissy in Gone With the Wind, I don’t know nothing about imprint training, but this is how I understand it.  As soon as the foal hits the ground, before it even stands up, a human begins working with it in order to imprint its brain  with certain techniques to enable it to be trained easier later in life.   

Last Saturday night we left town for a music festival in a nearby town believing that she was still 24 hours away from foaling.  Some other expert in horse gestation and delivery said if she wasn’t waxing (whatever that means) then we’d probably be okay until Sunday.

But when we returned on Sunday afternoon to check on the little mama, she had a little horsie by her side.

Although we were late and weren’t sure when the baby was born, J-Dub began his work.

He tied up Bobby, the momma, to get her out of the way and keep himself out of danger. 

Then began his newly acquired knowledge of imprint training on the little baby girl.

Mama  pawed the ground, knickered, and kicked up quite a stink, and some dirt, while her baby was taken from her and poked, prodded, pestered, and primed.

The idea of imprint training is to establish a bond between the baby and a human and to get it used to being handled to desensitize it for later training.  J-Dub laid the baby down on its side and rubbed it all over.  He picked up its feet for when it needs to be shod, rubbed under its tail so it won’t spook if a rope rubs it there, flexed its legs, stuck his finger in every orifice on its body and rubbed it all over until it was calm.  Then he rolled it over and did everything again on the other side. 

Then the two were reunited.  Four days later, Bobby the mama, was hauled to a nearby town to be bred back to foal again in about a year.  When the baby is weaned, she will be sent to a trainer and hopefully her imprint training will have taken effect.

J-Dub spent all that time building a nice little horse stall, equipped with pine shavings for a bed, and Bobby didn’t even use it.  Here’s the afterbirth laying in the horse pen.  Isn’t fascinating?  It looks like a big oily rag or something.

I just had to throw that in there.

You can thank me later.

Signs of Morning

Morning Time is quickly becoming my favorite time of day.

I can easily say this today, on a Sunday.

More specifically the Sunday after I’ve had 8 days off of work.

Maybe tomorrow morning I won’t feel the same.  Tomorrow.  The dreaded Monday.  More specifically, the first day back to work.  The first day back to work after Spring Break.  The first day back to work after Spring Break and Daylights Savings Time.  The first day back to work where instead of driving 10 seconds to get to work, I must drive 10 miles.

But this Sunday morning was glorious, and I can easily say it was my favorite time of day.

Where I now live, in the mornings, the cows in the neighbor’s pasture lumber their way, softly mooing as they go,  to a barbed wire fence to stare down this county road.  J-Dub says they’re waiting for the neighbor’s feed truck, but I have yet to see it arrive.

Hoping for breakfast.

But their curiosity of me and my camera gets the better of them.

In the mornings, the birds sing softly.  I gaze towards the telephone poles and the fence lines looking for them, but never find them. 

As you can see, there aren’t many trees to perch in.  They must be hiding in the grasses, raising their song of hope towards the heavens.

 

In the mornings, the grass is a little wet from the dew and the fresh breezes gently blow, refreshing me.

In the mornings, I set my coffee cup in the pasture so I can operate my camera.  And the horse poses for his portrait.

In the mornings, the sun warms the blossoms of the fruit trees, giving hope of new life.  And sweet apricots.

Mornings are filled with hope. 

Hope of new beginnings. 

Hope of fresh starts. 

Hope of happy days to come.

Happy Spring!

A Rare Horse; A Rare Friend

My husband’s horse was born on May 5th.  That’s how he received the name Cinco.  A horse with a sweeter disposition could not be found.  As soon as he saw you, he was lumbering your way to nudge and beg for attention.  My husband sometimes got aggravated with him when trying to work.  “He’s always right in my hip pocket, ” he occasionally complained. 

As fitting as his name, Cinco only lived five  years.  He got sick with an upper respiratory infection.  J-Dub took him to the vet, and they gave him some medicine.  He began to pep up.  Then two days later, I drove out to our place to find Cinco laying down.  Now, I admit I don’t know much about horses, but one thing I know is they rarely lay down.  He wasn’t just resting, he was slowly rolling from side to side.  I walked closer to look at him, and his eyes had a look of illness to them.  I felt very uneasy, but not wanting to be the over-cautious wife who freaks out at a rolling horse, I decided to watch him a while.  He got up slowly, took about 5 steps, and then was back on the ground rolling.  I decided something truly must be wrong.  I called J-Dub immediately.  He was far away in another county, so he called his friend Matt to drive out to check on him. 

In the meantime, Cinco would rise very slowly onto his knees with his hind legs in the air, attempting to get up.  Sometimes he would make it, and sometimes he would lay back down.  When he did manage to struggle to his feet, he would walk for a short way, then lay down and begin rolling.  My husband said it sounded like he was trying to colic.  I didn’t know what that meant.  Matt arrived and when he saw him, he ran to him, slapped his butt and pushed on him, forced him to get up.  He put a halter on him and began walking him around.  Matt explained that when a horse colics, they get a terrible stomach-ache, so they lay down and begin to roll to try to relieve the pain.  That causes their intestines to twist, and they die.  The best thing to do is make them walk. 

As Matt walked Cinco all around the place, I paced inside the house.  I felt helpless.  Shortly after, the vet arrived.  She listened to Cinco’s stomach, then inserted a tube down his throat, and began pumping his stomach.  She removed the tube and drained all this liquid onto the ground, and then reinserted it again for another round.  This continued for a very long time.  The vet then decided to take him into the clinic and keep him overnight.  Rabies was suspected, and possibly West Nile Virus. 

The next morning Cinco wasn’t any better.  They continued observing and treating him throughout that day and the night, but he died there in the vet’s clinic by morning. 

Because the only way rabies can be detected is through a post-mortem exam, and the only way to test is to send an animal’s head into a laboratory, my husband had to drive to the vet’s to pick up his dead, headless horse and bury him.  It was a sad day.  I wish I could have helped him, but there wasn’t any help I could give except my words of sympathy.

The results for rabies came back negative.  The cause of death was never known. 

My husband has been without a horse since November until yesterday when his friend Shawn gave him a horse, and a dang nice one at that. 

Here’s Shawn hamming it up as usual.

This new horse goes by the name Freak because of his rarity.  He is a palamino roan. 

Palamino is a yellow color, and roan refers to little white speckles.

Right now he is roaned from his middle to the back, but in the summer he roans all over.

He reminds me of a Californian surfer with his bleached blonde mane.

What a horse!

But more importantly, what a friend!

My husband and I are blessed beyond words to have a friend in Shawn who sees a need and fills it. 

Thank you Shawn!

 

A Horse Story

Spring Break has begun for me today.  I have 9 days off and 900 things on my ever-growing to-do list to accomplish.  Number one being pack, move, and unpack. 

My husband is super busy, and I can’t wait for him, so tonight I packed most of my kitchen, my china, my plates, my Tupperware, and my pots and pans, loaded them into my dad’s yellow truck, and unpacked them out at our new place.  It was dark when I drove up.  “Dark” in the country is a different kind of darkness.  It’s like dark, dark.  There’s no street lights, or neighbor’s porch lights, or flashing neon signs.  I fumbled around with the padlock on the gate using the light from my headlights, constantly looking around for fear of some critter to rub up against my leg or something.  Being in the country in the dark can be a little spooky.

I’ve always been a town girl, and the bottom line about country living is I’m going to have to toughen up.  Plain and simple. 

And perhaps invest in some night vision goggles. 

 As soon as I pulled up to the house, out of the darkness appeared this silhouette of a horse  walking towards me.  It’s not unusual for a horse to greet us when we pull up, thinking we’ve got some groceries on us.  I squinted trying to make out the color and the size of the horse, trying to recognize it.  It was a strange, gray spotted horse that am not familiar with.  I later found out,  J-Dub and some others got horseback today to get a little cowboy work done, and one of his cowboy friends left his horse at our place with the other horses. 

You want to know a little secret?  An unknown fact about me? 

I’m kinda, sorta scared of horses.  I know, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re married to a cowboy and you’re scared of horses?????  Yes, I am.  I have no reason to be afraid.  I’ve never been hurt by one, but they’re big and powerful, and they aren’t the least bit afraid of me.   They walk around with an air of authority and intimidate me.

I then noticed the other three horses came strutting over in a pack, throwing their gang signs. I began unloading some boxes from the back of the truck, ignoring the horses when suddenly I heard a pounding of horse hooves.  Spinning around, trying to allow my eyes to develop night vision, I saw one of the three  horses chasing the strange, gray horse around the pasture at a high rate of speed.   I yelled and they stopped running, but as I was unloading the truck, on my trips in and out of the house, I kept my eye on the behavior of these horses.  The three horses that have been out there and have gotten to know one another, wouldn’t let the new horse around them.  They had decided to form a clique, and like a bunch of junior high girls were bullying this strange horse. Even when the new horse was off minding his own business, the 3 bully horses would saunter over to him and suddenly one of them would break away from the others and charge at the gray horse, causing him to take off running with the bully horse right on his heels.  It was downright unnerving to me.  I could only imagine them running through a fence or running into me carrying a large box.  I wanted to do something but felt helpless and a little bit too scared to take on two charging horses.  Where’s Mr. Ed and  the Horse Whisperer when you need them?

This little cat and mouse chasing bit went on three more times, before they finally settled down somewhere beyond my vision. 

I got my kitchen unpacked and headed back to the truck, greeted this time by the putrid smell of a skunk permeating the air.  He’s probably nesting under my house.

Darkness, unpredictable horses, odorous skunks……..lawsy mercy, this is going to be quite the adventure, and boy had I better get tough or get night goggles.