Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Today, at least, spring is finally here. The horses are very funny with it - full of beans and joie de legumes. It has been a bit dicey trying to pace their exposure to the new grass, since the recent and continous heavy rains mean I have had to pull them off the pasture several times since the wet makes the ground cover very fragile. They sulk. Now that it’s nice again, I am encountering meaningful stares and pregnant nickerings about the timing of gate openings to the grass. And it’s not so easy getting them back in again, I can tell you. Horses are very cheap dates - I can’t imagine a human being so exhilarated about a patch of green stems, unless he or she is a golf course manager.

The newest little wrinkle is a morning (mourning?) dove who has built a nest in the topmost part of the indoor arena. Good choice for the bird, not so hot for the horses and riders. My housemate took his computer out there to emit raptor cries, in an attempt to get her/them to relocate, but no joy. It was pretty funny - such a 21st century approach to animal pest management. Anyway, since the nest is 35 feet in the air through a thicket of rafters and struts, we have decided to look at it as a learning and teaching opportunity, since there is no way to remove it. Hopefully the young ones will be hatched and fledged in short order and there will be a number of bird-flapping-proofed horses to show for it. Plus it’s now dry enough to use the outdoor arena.

Happy spring!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Recent events

Yes, it’s been a long time again since the last post. Always with the excuses, you say. But really, this time it’s a good one! Two weeks ago Saturday I was out early for chores, since I had four people arriving for Easter weekend, and twelve people sitting down to dinner on Easter Sunday. My mental list was scrolling down, setting forth all the things which needed doing after chores - the table, the cleaning, the cooking prep, the flowers, etc., etc. Also, it was snowing, for Pete’s sakes, and there was already two inches on the ground. So I was resigned to Long Chores, including blanketing everyone and I was therefor out early to get a jump on it. My first stop was a calm, nice, quite large horse whom I had blanketed many times before. I threw the sheet over, and didn’t get it on at first since he is pretty big. So, while he was eating his breakfast, I tried again, more forcefully. So forcefully that the tummy straps flew over his back and hit the stall window with a clatter, startling him. He jumped a bit, and hit me, so that I staggered at speed toward the opposite wall and after hitting it I fell, really really badly. So badly, in fact, that I couldn’t get up. I laid there like a bug on its back in the pee and poo, whimpering and hoping to heaven the agitated horse (still with his sheet half on) wouldn’t step on me. Which he didn’t, god bless him. But it was quite a long time before I could move enough to turn over and crawl out backwards, and then I laid on my back again in the barn aisle for another long time, still whimpering, before I could struggle up and into the house where my housemate finally found me.

So, let’s go visit Penn and play hospice!! Not only could I not greet my guests later that day, I couldn’t do anything at all. Not vacuum, not set the table, not walk at all, in fact. I had to be carried to the table for the meal, I got stuck on the toilet. This episode opened whole new horizons of incapacity for me. If people wished to visit me, they had to pay court to me on the couch in the living room, where I laid in state like a French demi-mondaine (sp?) in her salon, issuing Vicoden-informed nuggets of wisdom and wit. The weekend was a hoot, I must say. After that, not so much - many days on the couch not able to either sit or stand without quite a bit of discomfort. The miracle is nothing was broken or fractured, nothing is bulging or compressed. I am very, very lucky. People came in almost every day to minister to me - in particular an osteopath and a body worker who helped quite a bit. I am walking now, though I still can't sit much - but today's personal best was that I changed and washed all my bed linens! Doesn't sound like much, but it is, actually. I am reminded of a comment by the later Christoper Reeve who remarked (after his paralysis) that he really missed things like rummaging in the silverware drawer....

The cool things about this episode are several:

One: it has long been my conviction that without me personally involved in most everything, general collapse would ensue. Not so!! Help - competent help - boiled out of the woodwork, taking care of not only daily routine chores and water tub cleaning and hay moving, but also scooping the kitty boxes, loading a new toilet paper roll, feeding the dogs and cats, getting in food..... The list of things I couldn’t do was endless, and someone was always there to help. Neighbors I barely knew contacted me to see what they could do for me.

Two: my personal speed level has always been very fast. (Note: I have always thought that personal speed compatibility was the greatest single indicator of success in couples. A person who walks/thinks/reacts/talks at a significantly different speed than their partner will not last with him or her.) Now, my speed is slow. I am starting to do things, but at a very different rate, and in a different way. I must think out beforehand how it will work, and what I need to set up by way of tools, etc. It affords me quite a bit more psychic space, which I find both interesting and rewarding. I don't know how long it will be before I am fully recovered, but's fine. The horses continue calm and content, masked against flies, grazing happily - it's good.

Moral - it’s an ill wind that blows no good? That’ll do.