Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sovereign's miracle

Sovereign is such a good horse. He is sensible under saddle and has helped Pie find the courage to be sensible too. Unfortunately, he is not a joy to groom because he is very thinned skinned and obviously has had some past trauma in the grooming department. I look at this one area of his personality as a small price to pay for such a trusty mount. I am certain that in time I will learn how to groom him so that I don't tickle him and cause him to act silly. He is getting better, but it is no secret that Sovereign would prefer a nice water bath any day of the week than a curry comb getting anywhere near him. He loves water. 
We have a low oval water trough that he steps into and plays in every single time he is turned out. (Thankfully, we have other water buckets around that he stays out of and keeps clean for he and Pie to get a fresh drink.) I scrub the buckets each day and refill them and then stand there in horror as Sovey splashes and muddies up the tub again. Often times while Mom and I watch him doing this for the 100th time, our anger dissipating as we see his obvious glee about being in water, we talk about how we should put in a pool for him. Many racehorses swim at the track in horse pools and Sovereign must have loved that from his racing days. "If only we had a stream on our property," I muse. Mom reminds me that the old maps show a tiny creek called "Cedar Run" ambling through our land, but we have never seen any water. We are plagued by sinkholes, telltale signs of underground springs and caverns, but no stream above. I have looked out on our hayfield probably a million times since Sovey arrived wishing for a pond or stream for him.
Well, last week, Sovereign's "stream" magically appeared!!! I can't believe this actually happened, but it did. I turn the boys out at night, often when it is pitch black so that the mosquitoes are done with their madness. I arrived after a particularly heavy downpour and I saw something reflecting in our long pasture. I really didn't think much of it and brought Pie out of the barn. It is so dark away from our barn lights that taking out horses is a bit like riding Space Mountain. If someone bolts or jumps there is no way to anticipate anything. I opened the gate and realized that what I saw reflecting was actually a wide stream. It started outside of the pasture and ran right through the middle into the hayfield! I walked Pie down to it and as our eyes adjusted, he carefully put one foot in. He liked the water and plodded in with his other feet. I followed and couldn't believe that it was as high as my tall Wellies! Oh, Sovereign was going to love this!!! I walked Pie through to the other side so I knew he was safe and I ran in to get the Sovey Boy. Sovereign was SO HAPPY that night!!! I phoned Mom on my cell and she hurried over. Together we watched the two boys jump and splash and race and play in their temporary stream. There was lightning in the far distance that would softly light up the scene. It looked like two wild horses playing in a tumbling brook somewhere in England. I can't believe that really happened. It made all the rain we've endured this summer completely worth it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

collect my books and get on back to school

Maizie's first day of fifth grade was yesterday. Here she is waiting for the bus looking so tall and grown-up. I do believe that time is the hardest thing to endure as a parent. My own aging hasn't bothered me because I am demented. I always forget that I am not 18. Seriously, unless I am looking in the mirror and see my strands of gray hair, I feel like I am young. Watching Maizie grow, though, is an entirely different kettle of fish. It is so difficult. She has been fun at each age and yet each age is over so quick. I am a person who tries to be "present" and pay attention to every little detail, yet her very being seems so ephemeral to me. It reminds me of a sunset. Every minute is glorious and ending at the same time. So off she went, yesterday, leaving Brian and I behind.
Of course, I comforted myself in the only way I know - I went for a great ride on Pie with Mom on Sovereign. We went on all our favorite trails in the sunshine and woods. Pie always leads the way and Sovey follows behind like a rental pony. Yesterday, though, Mom and Sovey went first for part of the way, and, oh boy, did those sweeties change personalities!!! Sovereign was suddenly alert, cautiously looking at every shadow and sunshine patch with his ears forward and his neck tucked in and round like a big dressage boy. Pie was asleep and lazily bringing up the rear. How different this is!!! Usually, Pie acts like he is the "leader" - double-checking the safety factor in all directions. I really got to relax on the chubby boy. I was bareback and I felt like I was on a school horse! It is funny how their natural instincts kick in. Apparently, without missing a beat, even little babies like Pie and Sovereign understand the unwritten law in the horse etiquette book that the lead horse is the sentry and the second horse can take a little nap!
I won't be napping today. One of my Humanities classes started on Tuesday, so my afternoons are filled lecturing about art. Today is the "Spotted Horses" discussion about the paintings in the caves at Pech Merle so that isn't too bad! Maybe I'll sneak in a ride this morning too. I told my students that I may smell "horsey" occasionally!
Speaking of school, I was looking again at my first grade picture. I think we got two new students!

Monday, August 24, 2009

in the evening when the sun is sinking low

Here is a cute face! This is Pie on our ride on Friday evening. My niece, E., who is an accomplished rider, visited Honeysuckle Faire and rode the Sovey boy. We had a wonderful ride. Maizie was kind enough to photograph the outing, but I accidentally had the camera on a weird setting so we only got a few good photos. Click on any photo to enlarge. E. will just have to come back soon!

We are heading out, above, behind the tennis court.

And through the field.

Cute apple sticker on barstool!

Lovely shot of us in front of my uncle's barn.

Oh, summer is so glorious!

Me, turned around talking to E. (What else is new?)

Spoiled boys getting carrots from Mom at her house. I photoshopped out the trash cans, but Maizie thought I should change the color of Mom's pants!

E. and Sovey.
What a fun ride! Thanks E. Come back soon!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

where have all Pie-Pie's apples gone?

Lately, Mr. Pie has been most annoyed! Every time we make our way out to his favorite apple snack station, the barstool, there are no apples!!! The barstool is happily placed in Pie's view, and even is sporting an adorable white "Apple" sticker on one leg, but there are no apples! At first, I thought our dear friend had run out of the money needed to support Pie's gluttonous apple habit. Apples are expensive and we have been decidedly spoiled all summer by the generosity of this kind neighbor. But, economics aside, it just didn't make sense because each day the barstool is upright in the field even though, on more than one occasion, Pie has shoved it over in frustration.
Influenced by the fact that Maizie has taken it upon herself to read all the original Nancy Drew books this summer, I attempted a little sleuthing of my own. To be perfectly honest, just like Nancy would be, I didn't even get to sleuth one bit because the thieves just appeared in front of me one evening. I have been turning the boys out at night because our daytime temperatures have been in the mid 90's. I was walking Sovereign out to the pasture and I heard a soft "giggling" sound coming from the hayfield. It was early evening and the sky was full of pink cotton candy clouds. There, in the middle of the field, was a Mommy Deer and her two babies all frolicking around. Pie and Sovey stood still as "whispering statues" and we all three watched in delight as the other three performed for us. The deer did not seem frightened in the least. As I watched, enjoying their lovely dance, a light bulb went on over my head - OH! YOU ARE THE APPLE THIEVES! Carson Drew would be very proud. And Pie is Bess (pleasingly plump) and Sovey is George (tomboy)!!! (Only Nancy Drew-ers will understand!) And..."J" worries if you have run out of apple money!!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

ask me why another road song

A crazy fun impromptu road trip popped up on Tuesday of this past week. Brian had to personally deliver one of his lovely tables to Charlotte, North Carolina, and Maizie and I decided to join him. This meant that I had to leave Pie and Sovereign behind with Mom at the helm. She is certainly able, but I still worried about her being alone. Fortunately, everything went very well! We have been having the most amazing rides on the boys recently (stories and pictures soon). I rode Pie way past the cemetery into town because he doesn't want to go short anymore. I also have been riding Sovey bareback. And Mom and I have been riding the boys together through the woods in the cool mornings. To leave was bittersweet, but I knew Pie and Sovereign would take good care of Mom. They are so loving and funny! We checked in via cell phone and she had many stories about the boys and their antics.
So where did we end up? Walton's Mountain!!! Brian and I grew up watching the television show and now we watch the DVDs with Maizie. When Brian realized we had to go to Charlotte, he mapped out a side trip to Schuyler, Virginia. This town, pronounced "Skyler" is the childhood home of Earl Hamner, the creator of The Waltons, and the setting for his stories and the show. There is a Walton's Mountain Museum in Schuyler, complete with Ike Godsey's Store. Below, Brian and Maizie stand in front of Earl Hamner's boyhood home.
Below I am in the post office with Ike and Cora Beth Godsey!

You never know what you will see in the foothills of Virginia. Here is a photo of a private residence in the shape of a teapot. To the right you can barely see the wooden black handle! Too funny!

Noodlebug was also left behind when we went on our trip. Dear Winnie and Ralph, our neighbors, took wonderful care of her. You can see, below, how worried she was about us!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

sitting in Mangrove valley chasing light beams

Our Saturday started out so foggy that Pie and Sovey had trouble finding each other in the pasture. Earlier, at 6am, Mom had fed the boys their breakfast in their stalls and she said that Pie was mesmerized by something out his east window. When I turned them out I could hear a loud banging in the distance, but because of the fog, I really couldn't tell what it was. While I cleaned the stalls, Mom investigated and discovered that the house next to our "barstool-apple-friend" was being re-shingled. We decided to ride in spite of the hammering. While we tacked up it became clear that Pie was super nervous about the mysterious noise in the fog. He was pawing and practically jigging in the cross-ties. I offered him some "down" time in his stall with his hay, but he only stood and stared out his window. I resumed tacking him up, but he was anything but cooperative. I know that my Mom would have bowed out of the ride if she knew how truly scared and antsy I thought he was, but I really have faith in his ability to work through his fears. I just maintained our usual calm routine. I pretended that he wasn't hyper, and finished tacking up. With Mom on Sovereign and me on the Big Boy, we headed out around our pastures and then through the fields. I could feel Pie calming under me, but he still was craning his neck in the direction of the roofers. Pie is a serious chow-hound and he was indignant that there was such a commotion near his beloved barstool with the apples. He just could not reconcile the fact that he might miss his apples today because of the scary noises. We quietly walked south and west with no problems. As we started north up the field, I saw Mom and Sovereign heading diagonally away from us. "Where are you going?" I asked. "I'm not going near there!" Mom yelled. Suddenly, Pie and I had a clear view of the whole scene. About six men in bright shirts with nail guns were walking around on the roof of a ranch house. They were working quickly and shooting nails loudly, but, just then, Pie spied his apples! Conundrum!!! I leaned forward and kissed him up, completely relaxing my seat and reins. He slowly and bravely walked over to his apples. Mom and Sovey joined us. The boys were marvelous!! They didn't mind one straw and now have another "scary" experience under their After their snack, they calmly walked right by the ranch house to our bridle paths in the woods as if they see this type of thing all the time. In addition, they relaxed the rest of the day in the pastures because they understood about all the noise. I like to help a horse find the answers when they ask.