Monday, May 23, 2011

EHV-1 - The Sounds of Silence

We live in an area with a lot of horse activity.  From boarding facilities with show grounds, breeding farms, training facilities, to multiple near-by trails, someone is always hauling a horse some place.

Across the field from our house is the entrance to a popular boarding/show facility which hosts events all year long.  As the weather warms up and the days get longer, they host week-long events.  This is the beginning of their busy season.

The rhythm and sounds of this life surround us and we love it.  But in the last week an eerie silence has fallen. 

Where I usually would spot five or more horse trailers on the road when I head to town, I now don't see any.  The show grounds across from us, so busy this time of year, have become silent.  The horse and alpaca facilities in our area have literally closed their gates.  The world that buzzes around us has come to a standstill. 

The talk right now is EHV-1.  I talk to my fellow horse friends and they, like me, are keeping their horse's home until we see how the situation pans out.  The motto I hear and the one I also choose to take is that it's better to be safe than sorry. 

Yet I wonder if things will ever be the same as I ponder the implications of this haunting silence to the world that surrounds me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Too Hot! Everybody out of the Pool (Pasture)

As spring arrives we usually pull our horses off the pastures and put them into the gravel paddock (soon to become my (kinda-sorta) outdoor riding arena). 

Our area is known for having a high content of fructose in our spring grass.  The grass is green.  The grass is lush.  The grass looks beautiful.  But looks are deceiving.  The grass is hot and it can be fatal to turn your horses out on it.

So usually this time of year our horses are all in the gravel pen, unhappy and bored with their surroundings.

This year I thought I'd try something different.  I turned the horses out onto our large (summer) pasture in mid February instead of waiting for the end of June.   I thought if I started them on the pasture while it was still winter that they'd eat down the grass and I wouldn't have to pull them off in the spring.

But Mother Nature pulled a fast one on me.  My plan hadn't predicted 30 degrees yesterday morning nor the wettest winter and coolest spring in history.  The wet weather followed by periodic days of sun has caused the pastures to explode with newly sprouted grass. 

The horses can't keep up with the growth and I've had to abandon my plan before someone gets sick or worse.  I've told my horses, "Heh, I tried - but everybody out of the pool and into the paddock." 

As you can see, they are not pleased. As I work in my office these days, this is what I usually see outside my window.  Glad I've got a stash of carrots in my little fridge out here!  :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sounds of Spring

Today I mowed our lawn and then sat outside for the first time this spring, enjoying the sunny weather.  Yes - that's Sunny on the left.  He's still with us.  He's had some good days recently and so we hold off on our decision knowing that the day will come soon enough.  Thank you all for your kind words on my Post about Sunny.  They meant much to this family.

As I sat in the sun I listened to the sounds of spring around me.  Gus and Sunny munching grass near the fence and the song of this one Robin who has graced us with (his/her?) music all day long now for many weeks.  This is one proud bird who sings from dawn to dusk with such great joy that one can only smile as they listen.

I also listened to my wind chimes as they blew lazily in the breeze.

This is the first wind chime I ever got. It's got to be twenty five years old if it's a day.  My Dad gave it to me years ago for Christmas.

Prior to moving here we lived close to the beach.  The sound of this wind chime brings back the smell of salt water and sound of softly flapping wings as sea gulls flew over our house at dawn and again at dusk.  Sometimes they would drop clam shells on our patio as they passed over.

On the other side of our yard hangs this wind chime.  It was given to our daughter who "donated it" to the yard.  We call this our rough weather chime.  It hangs protected from most breezes and only chimes when the winds are up, usually in the winter. When I hear it ring I know we are in for strong winds and stormy weather.  It makes me feel warm and cozy.

This is the most valuable wind chime I own.  I call it my Bim Chime.  It hangs in a place of honor outside my kitchen window.  It was given to me by my little brother, who we lost to Leukemia four years ago.  My brother's nickname was Bim, thus I call it my Bim Chime.

My little brother made this Bim Chime and gave it to me on my birthday.  It consists of old silverware and coins, heated, hammered flat and drilled with holes.  He strung the "chimes" with fishing line onto a branch off of a tree in his yard.  This all represents my brother so well.  He was an avid fisherman and well known Master Gardner.

Last December we had a wind storm with gusts over 100 mph.  My lovely Bim Chime was swinging sideways.  Afraid it would blow through the kitchen window, my husband risked life and limb, literally crawling through the high winds to take it down.  Some of the pieces of silverware had been torn off and were later found in our pasture.  My Bim Chime has sat outside in a tangled mess on the porch since that storm.

I've meant to untangle and hang it back up.  Our home hasn't sounded the same without the beautiful music it makes.  It's one of those things I keep meaning to do but then get distracted while it sits in a ball of fishing line, coins and silverware.

Today as I sat outside I untangled my Bim Chime, restrung the spoons and knives that had torn off and hung it back up in its place of honor.  It immediately started chiming in the breeze.  I've missed its song.  It brought back the memories of the best little brother one could ever have had and all the fun things we used to do together. 

There I sat, with my dog, Hank.  Smelling the sweet cut grass and listening to the symphony around my house that has arrived with the sounds of spring.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Belly Up To The...Ice Machine

Tuna on the left and Hank on the right, waiting for a cube of ice from the dispenser in front of the fridge.

I thought I was being so nice by sharing a cube whenever I got ice. 

It was so sweet how Hank would gently take it from my hand and as he ate it little pieces would fall on the floor. 

It was so adorable how Tuna would take the chips and either eat or swat them around the kitchen until they melted into little drips of water, what was the harm in that? 


I've created two ice monsters.  Anytime someone gets ice from the front of the fridge, Tuna and Hank both come running at full speed.  It's a race to see who gets to the front of the fridge first.

They now expect a cube of ice anytime someone pushes the dispenser.  If they don't get their cherished cube, they camp out in front of the fridge and give anybody who passes that sad eye-pity me look.  And they will sit there for hours.

Yesterday morning I came out to the kitchen in socks and found the bottom of my feet were wet.  I was puzzled.  Was the fridge leaking?  Where was the water coming from?

Mr. 50+ is gone before I get up.  Apparently he had been hit up for ice and had generously given them each a cube. 

At our house, if you want Hank and Tuna to come, you don't need to call them. 

Just push the ice dispenser!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Honor of Being Called "Mom"

Having the honor of being called Mom didn't come easy to me.  At a young age I'd had surgery that ended any chances of naturally getting the title. 

But miracles happen.  And one happened to us when with only two weeks until birth, my husband and I were chosen to be adoptive parents.  We had fourteen days to get all the studies and paperwork accomplished to receive a new born. 

Miracles continued to happen when everybody we worked with made it their priority to assist us.  And the biggest Miracle of all was when at the ripe age of eighteen hours, we brought our daughter home.

Thus started the honor of being called Mom.

As a young child it was Mommy.  "Mommy can you rub my back?"  "Mommy, I'm hungry."  "Mommy, can we (I)  please???"  "Mommy, I falled (yes falled) down!"

As she got older I became Mom.  "Mom, can you help me?"  "Mom, will it hurt?"  "Mom, can I please go?"

We were thrilled that our daughter liked horses.  Then again, I guess she didn't have much choice.  :)  When she decided to join 4H and then moved on to APHA, and there were more Mom questions:

"Mom, could you please hold him?"  "Mom, could you please get me a water?"  "Mom, HURRY!  I need my (helmet, gloves, boots, crop, hat, etc)". 

And one that still brings a tear to my eye:  "It's OK Mom, Charlie (above) and I will do better next year.  We're going to work really hard all year long and next year we'll make it to State, won't we Charlie?"

There was the rough patch too as our daughter entered into her late teen years and what I refer to as the know-it-all period.  "Mom!  REALLY!!"  "Yeah...Sure Mom."  "Mom!  Are you going to wear THAT?????!"

Those weren't such fun times.  I became Mother for awhile.  "Mother!  Please!!!!!"  "Oh and Mother, I don't want you doing (this and that)."  "Mother, don't you dare (do or say this and that)."

But we made it through those times and off to college she headed.  Now finishing up as a Junior, she came home yesterday, in-between finals, to go to lunch with me and then returned back to school. 

I know she's working hard to keep her A's and B's in college and leaving school for even a short time right now during finals is tough.  I was touched that she wanted to spend time with me yesterday.  She has two finals tomorrow and knew she couldn't be here on the official Mother's Day.

But what is so neat is where our relationship has gone.  I find she is no longer just my daughter, she is also my friend.  We make each other laugh, we share confidences, our thoughts parallel each others. 

We are back to the "Mom" stage again and it's an honor to be here.  "Oh, and Mom...did I tell you?"  "Mom, that is such a cool idea."  "Mom, did you want to go (here or there) today?"

And the very best.

"Mom, I love You."

Happy Mother's Day!