Life on the farm with the Man…and our critters…

Archive for October, 2011

A wink and a smile…

As the Man and I enter our third week of “Horse Ownership 101”, we find ourselves settling into a comfortable rhythm with Alex and Diva.  I wake up early now, to make myself a coffee and head to the barn, with two eager dogs by my side.  The horses greet us with soft hellos, followed by more urgent requests for their morning meal.  I give a quick scratch on the nose to each, then get on with satisfying their never ending need for food.  After all is done, and Alex and Diva are quietly chewing away, I head back into the house to refresh my coffee and catch up on what is happening in the world.  It has been an easy transition to include the horses into my morning routine, and it feels as though I’ve been doing it all my life.  I pull on my muck boots and throw on my fuzzy robe, and I go out and do what needs to be done…and I like it…

The transformation in my Alex has been a wonder to witness.  Sick and weak when he came to the Farm, he is putting on weight quickly, and the shine has returned to his eyes.  He playfully nudges me, and will ruffle his nose through my pockets looking for treats.  The treats are always on me somewhere, he knows it is his job to find them.  Our complete trust in each other has returned, and with it the closeness that we had before.  I am also seeing a glimpse of an impatient brat in Alex, but for now, I am ok with that.  After being the low man on the pole in a large herd, he deserves to feel as though he should come first…for awhile, at least…

In the evenings, we spend a lot of time in the Barn, and out of the corner of my eye, I quietly watch the Man have his time with Diva.  She trusts him more every day, and will now calmly drop her head and lean into him as he scratches her ears.  She studies him with her big brown eyes, and it’s as if she now realizes that she truly is home, and no longer has to fear.  I see in them what I share with Alex…and I am happy for them…

In the beginning of this adventure, my biggest fear was that there was so much I didn’t know about horses, so much to learn.  I’ve come to realize that I needn’t worry as much as I do.  The more time I spend with Alex and Diva, the more I learn about their personalities.  They pout and stamp their feet to get their way, and Diva has perfected the “Talk to the hand” stance when she is trying to make a point.  I swear I saw Alex grin when I gave him his grain this morning.  Their every move tells a story, and I am getting fairly good at knowing their mood at any given time.  When their world is good, they let me know, and when it’s not, they let me know that as well.  I am sure that there are many lessons ahead for the four of us, but for now, life is good for our two horses…and ours is much richer…


Walk in the woods…

Walk in the woods with the Man...


Homecoming…

Our dream for the Farm has always been to return it to it’s glory days of years past, and this summer was our biggest step towards that goal.  Our days , rain or shine, were spent putting up fences and rebuilding the big barn, making it ready for our expanding family.  At the start of the summer, our plan was to add two horses, Alex and Chaser, to our fold, with no immediate plans for adding any others.  Two was a good start, and the learning curve would be easier.  In July, we had crossed paths with a beautiful paint mare, and before we knew it, Diva had been added to the list.  Our preparation had it’s share of setbacks, including having to completely rebuild half of the barn’s floor due to rot, but we slowly and surely made progress.  With the finish line in sight, we learned that Chaser, the old man of the three, had become ill and passed away.  Chaser had been one of the sweetest horses we’d ever met, and he would have been a great companion to Alex and Diva, as well as to us.  Though we were sad, we knew that we still had a lot of work left to do, and we put our noses to the proverbial grindstone.  We set a date and made arrangements, and before we knew it, the day had come.

The day we had planned for and looked forward to for months brought with it a steady rain, but even the sogginess of the day could not dampen our excitement.  Alex was the first to arrive that morning, and the moment he stepped out of the trailer was magical for me.  Over the last couple of years, I had come to have a deep bond with Alex, and knowing that he was actually here, actually a part of the Farm now, was nearly overwhelming.  He walked into the barn and claimed his stall as if he had been here all his life.  It had been a hard summer for him with the other horses at his old home, and he seemed to sense that this was where he belonged, with the person that he belonged to.  Knowing that Diva wouldn’t be arriving until late in the day, I spent as much time with Alex as I could.  As the day wore on, he began to get restless, and I started to worry about what state he would be in by the time of Diva’s arrival.  Darkness, as well as heavy rain, had started to fall by the time her previous owners pulled into the driveway.  While still in her trailer, she trumpeted her arrival with a loud whinny, and a few moments later, an answer was returned from the barn.  “The moment of truth” I thought, as she was led in through the large, open door.  Alex was at full attention as he watched her walk into her stall, which is right next to his.  Diva gave quick inspection to her stall, as we quietly shut the door behind her and watched with eager anticipation.  Alex quietly blew through his nose as if to say “Hello there, friend.”, and as Diva approached the bars that separate the two stalls, Alex stuck his nose through to her side.  Oblivious to us, their noses touched and they quietly greeted each other, causing all who witnessed it to catch their breath.  To me, it was at that moment that our farm had truly become “The Farm”, and I stood beside the Man, both of us not daring to breath for fear of breaking the spell.  We quietly exited the barn, leaving them to their business of getting acquainted, and visited with Diva’s previous owners.  After they left, we went back into the barn.  Alex and Diva were standing next to each other and looking at us as if to say “What now?”  What now, indeed…

It’s been a week since our two horses arrived, and the learning curve is certainly a steep one.  We have spent countless hours with them, enjoying their presence, and watching them bond and play in their paddock that we worked so hard at to prepare.  We’ve also had our fair share of drama during the past week, including a midnight visit from the vet a few nights ago when Alex decided to wrestle with his stall door and came up a little bit on the short end of the tussle.  As horrifying as that night was, it brought home to us how fragile these proud, majestic horses truly are, and how much they depend on us for their care.  It has been a week of new beginnings and discovery, with a healthy dose of education and shoveling on our part.  But it has also been a week of quiet contentment and gaining of trust, and certainly of love returned ten fold.  We have come full circle, the four of us.  Alex and Diva are home, and they are now a part of the family…part of the Farm…


It’s you…

Earlier this evening, I was reacquainted with a song that I hadn’t thought about in a long time.  Stephen Bishop’s song “It might be you”, from the 1982 movie “Tootsie”. That year, I was a senior in high school, and on the thresh hold of becoming an adult.  I dreamed of my freedom, and with it finding someone I could and would love for the rest of my life.  This particular song made a huge impact on me, because though the lyrics described what I dreamed, it also made me realize that my path to love would not be an easy one.  One verse in particular described the hope, as well as the fear, that I felt.

“Looking back as lovers go walking past…All of my life…Wondering how they met and what makes it last…If I found the place…Would I recognize the face?”

We all dream of having that “love at first sight” moment, and I was no exception.  In a world where loving who you choose to love isn’t always a freedom, I often found myself wondering if I would ever have that moment, or if I’d be free enough to experience it when it did come along.  When the day came that I finally started walking my intended path, I started to sense that perhaps finding that perfect love just might be possible.  A few years and a lot of painful lessons did not lesson the hope that someday I would recognize the face when I saw it.  And recognize it I did.  In an instant, I realized that all the choices I had made, as well as the scorn that I had felt, was worth it.  His face was kind and gentle, his smile weakened my knees, and his eyes melted my soul.  As with the song, I had progressed from dreaming and wondering, to catching my breath and dreaming some more.

“Something’s telling me it might be you…Yeah, it’s telling me it must be you…And I’m feeling that it’ll just be you…All of my life.”

In the blink of an eye, my life changed.  I had my moment.  I recognized the face.  I felt the sweet joy of love returned.  Nearly 11 years later, the love that I share with that man is strong, with each day spent together being both a blessing and a gift.  The dreams I have now, I share with him, and we work together to make those dreams happen.  I have never wavered in my devotion to him, and I fall asleep beside him each night knowing that his love for me grows more everyday.

“Something’s telling me it might be you…All of my life.”