Tag Archives: horse

Last Day

With hours left before my best boyfriend, TheOldMan heads for his winter home I was a sad mess.

As I brushed him he was skittish about the exceptionally noisy dogs. Then he didn’t like the loose, new gravel or the sound of power tools from what used to be his old stable next door. He reared up coming up the drive, and as I calmed him he told me he isn’t happy with all these changes. As we walked I reminded him that he’s the most wonderful boy. Soon the most delightful peace settled upon us and God’s Spirit calmed us both,

“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Isaiah 42:9 (NIV)

Hero wanted some love too.

SchauzerOne hoping for a wayward carrot.

Muddy Roo heads in for the day job.

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons;” *

*From Daniel 2:20, 21 (NIV)

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Horse Sense

To live with horses has been my heart’s desire most of my life. I like to think learning more slowly these days has nothing to do with aging (thank you for letting me run with that). In His infinite wisdom God has been teaching me about horses, slowly, gradually by arranging for me to care for friends horses. I suspect that’s so I don’t obsess lose pace with anything else in my life.

When I returned from vacation I noticed the big bay gelding, TheOldMan looking a bit plump. With cooler weather coming I wasn’t terribly concerned about it, but a few days later I noticed he didn’t run to me as he had been doing and there was something different about his gait. Not necessarily bad, simply unusual. Still, my gut told me something was wrong.

I contacted TheOldMan’s people immediately and we arranged for the farrier to visit a.s.a.p. – which was two days later. Meanwhile the dissimilar gait haunted me.

The obvious problem was a thrown shoe, but my gut told me there was more and to not walk him. I felt some relief when Cole moved him to the north pasture where the sweet grass wasn’t as plentiful.

I’ve always been able to “trust my gut”. Thinking about it, I can’t remember a time when harm or at least hurt didn’t result from ignoring my instincts. Soon after I asked Jesus to take the reins of my life I began to learn another way to live – being Spirit led.

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;
may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10 (NIV)

From that first day I have prayed and studied the Bible every day. I can’t learn enough about Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Over thirty years later there is still more to learn, but God consistently teaches me I can trust Him first and foremost. Essentially He has reconditioned my instincts.

Hanging out with our excellent farrier while he worked I realized I still have so much to learn about horses. Even so, I was right about that gait. The short story is while I was away, TheOldMan gained weight so fast he strained his hooves. He’s fixed up now so we can both walk into a full recovery.

God uses TheOldMan to remind me that as long as I seek and trust Him, He will never lead us astray.

While God uses all of me, I can trust my “gut.”

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6 (NIV)

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Woo – Whee!

Many days I wonder if I’ll ever slow down and settle in – mostly when I’ve been writing about the three years before I arrived here at the ranch.

As I prepare to fly to Austin, Texas I say goodbye to the garden. Even though I’ll be away only a week, the end of the season is quickly approaching. Here days are shortening, nights and early mornings are cooling. The gelding and the steer are fluffing up with extra hair and the flowers seem desperate to soak in the sunshine while it lasts.

In Texas we’ll have almost three years to catch up on, so I expect to be road weary upon return. And then there’s that emotional roller coaster after another series of “see ya later” (we avoid saying “goodbye”). Perhaps after returning I’ll have a new perspective I’d missed before. And maybe by then I’ll have an even better grasp of why I must be so far from the rest of my heart again.

Though I can hardly wait to get there, thinking about the journey that brought me here seems appropriate.

From October 13, 2016:

Whew!

After a 28 hour turn-around for Cole, fifteen hours for me, I’m home. In my own cottage on my brother-from-another-mother‘s ranch.

No internet in my cottage yet, no TV or even radio and I have a whopping 2G cell service – from the middle of the north pasture when I visit the cattle and the mare. It’s really not all that bad…

 

Today.

While I’m still buried in boxes.

Once I unpack and set up I’ll shop for better options. For now I’ll take my time and catch up with me – it’s been a long, hard three years.

  

Try to not miss me too much. ❤

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23, 24 (NIV)

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Mud

Do you ever experience that feeling before you actually wake, that you seriously need more rest? Do your eyes open reluctantly and you try not to think? But something nags at you, forcing you from that sweet, peaceful slumber?

The other morning I wasn’t fully awake, moreover thinking – anything. I’d stayed up later than usual praying for Harvey and Irma survivors and the rescue workers. Minutes after rolling out of bed, I stumbled toward the pastures, no water or caffeine -the first indication that something was off.

Sure enough, a beast had broken the capped-off sprinkler head in the dry lot.  The 90 minute cycles had ended some hours earlier, so the new mud bath covered the south half of the (formerly) dry lot and the ground was still wet clear past the chicken house.

Cattle don’t care much about mud. They’d seen me approaching so they’d passed the new mosh pit and were waiting at the pasture gate. As I swung the gate open they enthusiastically headed for the grass.

But despite being a passionate food fan, Kendra’s gray mare bobbed her head and impatiently trotted around the inner pen on the north side of the mud. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she relates mud to the farrier’s visits. Regardless, she avoided the slippery mess that morning.

I doubled back, got a lead rope from the tack shed and walked toward the man gate to walk the mare around. Sensing I wasn’t my usual self, the mare circled the lot, swishing her tail defiantly. I watched her and yawned. Clearly neither the mare nor I were prepared for complications, and nothing was going the way it should. I couldn’t think but I managed to blurt out, “God, please.”

Finally the mare came back around to the “new pond” again and stopped.  Turning to face me she blinked those long eyelashes, bobbed her head down and raised it high again tossing her mane back and forth. Translated that’s, “This is not how I saw this morning going.”

Next she surprised me by stepping toward me – the opposite direction from the pasture gates – and stopped. I tossed the tie end of the rope over her neck and silently we walked together as though there was no rope, only out of habit I held the ends together. She paused as I threw open the man gate, then we went smoothly, effortlessly through, toward the wide gates and she went happily into the pasture.

Despite my brain fog we connected. God wins!

 

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

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A-Tack Day

It was the middle of a crazy, emotion-packed week. Too exhilarated from my drive to town in perfect weather, I couldn’t force myself back indoors yet.

The cloud bank to the west served to justify another walk for the morning; it could be a storm front coming in, so I headed to the pastures – to check on the livestock, of course.

Only one head rose up as I approached the main gate, but I was glad it was the gray mare grazing on the east side. Naturally her head went right back down into a patch of sweet grass, but her nod, acknowledging me once again filled me with wonder.

The cattle watched me dispassionately from the west end as I moved from the gate to the south pasture. The mare pretended to ignore me, and yet she repositioned her hooves – certainly taking more than one step away (only in case I was coming to bring her in) would have required more exertion. As I stepped closer she nickered as if she enjoyed teasing me. As she continued to munch a mouthful of grass uninterrupted, I shooed some flies away from her face and picked some straw from her mane. She thanked me by resting her head on my shoulder and with her head pulled me to her neck. I don’t care what equestrian experts call this, I consider it a horse hug.

One hand rubbed her chest between her forelegs, the other reached up and around to rub her neck and then her face. She hated that so much, except for her munching she stayed perfectly still while my hands moved over her.

Once again I felt like she understands these kinds of moments with her actually get me through my occasional bouts with loneliness.

Sufficiently stroked, I left her to walk briskly to the tree line at the back of the lot, opposite the cattle and then I turned back toward the gates. As I walked, the tiniest suggestion of yellow on the ground stopped me. I stepped in closer and confirmed my suspicions; a fresh crop of tack weeds had begun spreading out.

After losing my dearest canine companion to an infection caused by tack weed stickers, I developed a particular loathing for them. Here at the ranch we’ve been at war since this year’s thaw. I got a bucket, a large claw hammer and gloves from the tack room and set to digging the dastardly roots up.

Though I was glad for the perfect light the numbers and sizes of these new weeds surprised me. A shiver had just shot through me as I imagined a mean goat head sticker stabbing the mare’s soft lips, when I suddenly felt overshadowed.

From my periphery it seemed the neighbor’s bull had somehow gotten into our pasture, which for a heartbeat confused me. God and I have had a lifelong understanding about bulls (and rams); He keeps them away from me and I stay clear of them.

Instinctively I did not alter my slightest movement. However after another heartbeat, before I peeked out from under my hat, Hero, our 9-month-old calf let out a familiar low, soft moo. Immediately calm replaced all my concern. His 600-or-so pound self had silently grazed up to about six feet from me and was eyeing me curiously as he munched.

While I marveled over how much he’s grown in a week or two, I recalled Brother telling me if one sits still long enough, the calf will come close to investigate. That had been eight months ago. My next thought was whether this half-ton baby remembered me lassoing him a few weeks back. He was too calm for that and content to continue grazing close by me.

Then I wondered where Momma was, and if she remembers me bringing her flakes of hay and fresh water for the weeks the pastures rested. I felt no alarm or concern about anything but the tack weeds.

After a few more minutes there was no sign of the malefactors outside my bucket. I slowly stood and stretched, eyes still scanning over the grounds.

Hero watched from about three feet away by then, but didn’t startle or miss a nibble. Momma looked up for a moment but her head went right back down. Mare went right on munching inches from where I left her. The neighbor’s bull, by the way, continued laying on his side of the fence and the hot wires. I marveled at how I often have trouble seeing my computer screen clearly, and yet I can spot a fly by a cow’s eye or a tack weed from yards away.

Satisfied and sufficiently stretched for the day, I walked toward the gate. Mare bounced her head as I went on without her. I remembered a favorite story about a fair summer day, a newly acquired mare lay laying contentedly in the grass with her person…

As I continued on I thanked God for these peaceful moments and again for bringing me here.

What a delight being able to lose myself out in the open; to be unconcerned, unintimidated and unaware of anything but God’s presence and my 5 physical senses. A tear was slipping down my face when the adolescent rooster crowed – yeah, at noon, bringing my focus back to the present.

By then I was completely relaxed and content in the present time. I happily returned to my work.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.”

Psalm 23:1,2 (NLT)

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Wonder – Walk #15

The world is indeed wonderful.

Looking at the beautiful bull in the next pasture, I wonder about their mean reputation. He can nap anywhere in his pasture, but he likes lounging, practically nose to nose with our calf (the wire fence between them), naturally Momma stays very nearby .

The sweet, beautiful bull next door.

 

Ewe, the bull and a lamb.

 

Girlfriend willing me to open the gate

 

After Pepper passed through the open gate, the hot wire dragging her back, to get to the fresh, green grass, I didn’t have the heart to bring them back in.

 

The four-month-old “Rockers” thanking me for the fresh greens.

 

Ever vigilant “Dog” keeping watch.

I also wondered why all the goats are gone from the neighbor’s pasture. Then again, they had a huge barbecue last month. 😉

 

“O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.” Psalm 104:24 (NLT)

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Neck Up Check Up

I’ll just say it; I crack me up.

This morning began even earlier than usual for me. It’s hot, so I didn’t sleep as well as I typically do. I rolled out of bed thanking God for another day with Him. But soon I grumbled and complained about the dead bugs here and there from the summer’s quarterly spraying. Disgusted, I tied a frozen bandanna around my neck and stepped outside.

Instead of heading for the pastures first as I usually do, I walked toward the front yard and the gardens. It didn’t occur to me that the cattle and the mare would notice me in the pre-dawn light. They did. Loudly. Their calls to me actually warm my heart most days, but it was very early. Silly me, I worried the premature noise might disturb the neighbors – the nearest one being too far to hear. After I walked the other way, out of sight they quieted back down quickly.

I adore growing my own food. Over the weekend we’d placed Sevin baits to help reduce the earwig overpopulation. Still finding the live, slithering masses under everything I touched (checking for squash bugs or eggs) annoyed me. So did the screen door banging against the planter – someone left it open after using the grill the night before. As the first sun beams streaked across the tree trunks I felt taken for granted noticing the empty bird feeders. Poor, poor, pitiful me.

Clearly I desperately needed coffee.

Once the coffee began pumping I felt revived and happier with the world. I followed the cattle to the pasture to see how the new controller program I’d set the day before went. That was a long process in itself: find a manual on line, find the information I needed rather than read every jot and tittle about the device, hand write the step-by-step instructions (of course the printer cartridge emptied at that particular moment, and forget a WiFi signal in the metal barn), walk back to the cottage for a flashlight since the new lights in the barn aren’t connected yet… I already had half my daily steps in.

Then I noticed two swamp spots in the first sprinkler zone – yep, the cow’s knocked off two more sprinkler heads so the water pooled around a two-yard radius instead of the 20 yard circles they should have soaked. Stupid cow.

I shot a text off to Brother reminding him to bring more replacement heads home with him and headed back to my desk. I pulled fresh weeds to feed the chickens – killing two birds with one stone (the young hens will just have to get over that expression – or start laying soon).

Within minutes at my desk, my brand new wireless keyboard had me wanting to punch something. Does anyone actually use F keys instead of hot keys? How is learning to stretch the fingers higher better than CTL+S, CTL+A, CTL+C, CTL+V, etc? I literally walked away after the fifth or sixth time a Save As dialogue box popped up rather than the cursor back spacing over yet another key error. Grrr… And I saved to buy this device for months!

The sound of Old Dog sniffing around my open door was all it took to push me over my threshold. Time for a walk.

Before we’d walked fifty yards I noticed Senior Neighbor Lady waving her arms and calling me. Walking past our three dogs noisily engaging in their daily fence fight I finally heard her tell me, “Honey, I don’t have my hearing aids in and couldn’t hear what you were yelling to me.”  Hmmm… I only waved hello as I do every morning – usually two hours later.

I easily find patience with seniors – sowing what I hope to reap, so I hugged her and wished her a nice day.

As Dog and I rounded the first bend in the road, I heard what sounded like angry voices nearby. Dog paused, his aging ears pointed toward the source of the sound. It appeared one half of a young couple was loading a pick-up truck bed and the other half was getting her wounded, parting words out. He wordlessly pulled items out of the pile she’d created next to the garbage can before the collection truck arrived.

Been there, done that. I prayed.

I continued to pray as we continued our walk. Dog doesn’t mind – he can’t hear my lower register anyway. God does.

As we headed back up our driveway I noticed the fruits of my labors in the pretty, colorful, well-trimmed yards, and the unmistakably peaceful atmosphere of the place. Yeah, the lots between the main house and the pastures seem chaotic, but that’s what Brother’s business going in good a direction looks like.

I realized how silly I’d been earlier. Though I never expected to be unmarried, my life now is what I’ve always hoped and wished for. Despite the daily annoyances that are certain to arise as I learn about ranch life, with such a benefactor as Brother, my life has become a story I want to write. Most important, I realized how quickly I suffer for discounting my relationship with God.

Today I’m humbled recalling one of Daddy’s iconic expressions, “How soon we forget.”

Today I’m grateful for the reminder to never step out the door before prayer time – or without my latte.

Now I’m off to get the rest of my steps in before it’s too hot!

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NLT)

 

Image courtesy MemeGenerator.net.

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Still Workin’

Yeah, it’s been a while. Originally I imagined this imposed hiatus would be a week or two.

We plan – God laughs.

It turns out I’d carried a lot more baggage home with me than I’d realized. And surprise, I’d gotten so used to carrying it all I hadn’t noticed the the weight. As it happens, hurting my arm and shoulder wasn’t entirely a bad thing. I had to lay a few things down and I’ll tell you, sometimes doing that right can be a long process. I’m determined to stick with it and not need to do this again!

 

Still, I enjoy my new life on the ranch, despite how it humbles me – daily. So much to learn, such astounding lessons.

 

 

I finish the chores early in the day so I’m back to work on my chapters now: Write – edit – edit – edit – submit.

I don’t have my head around my new What’s Next format – yet – but I don’t want anyone wondering if I’ve gone off the rails either.

So for now, enjoy the link to what feels like my life’s sound track from Mandisa and keep checking in!

 

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

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Gravity

Is it just me? Or does anyone else remember falling as a child?

I tripped and fell down a lot. Okay, we can make that present tense and still be accurate. But I remember as a child how immediately after the bonk-boink-thud I’d first look around to see if anyone saw me. Even then I hoped to rewrite the story.

How times have changed.  Now we look around for witnesses in case we are hurt and want to go to court.

falling-pixabay

Over my first few months here I stumbled and tripped around the property and fell a few times. I adapted remarkably fast so life is less painful and with the full use of all my limbs projects flow much more smoothly.

At this juncture of my life I don’t mind falling; I mind the landings very much. Gravity, no woman’s good friend, is a necessary evil. Has anyone else tried indoor sky diving? Yeah! Falling can be great. Aside from that, in my experience landings generally tend to initiate a surprisingly costly, painful and lengthy healing process.

I like dancing in the breeze, with or without my four-legged companions, my arms up, breathing in the fresh air. That is until my boot slips and my torso shoots in a different direction than my legs. Again with the landing.

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.”*

During the cold season I feel every hit my body ever took – and I thank God I continue to enjoy mobility. Still, I expect my love-hate relationship with gravity shall continue – indefinitely.

20170228_123156Some of my landings since childhood have taken their toll on me. And yet, I dance in the pastures, arms out, breathing in the fresh air, Girlfriend trotting along just in case a tasty morsel awaits her in my pocket. I delight in walking with Ol’ Scout loping around me, his tongue happily flapping in the breeze. These are the moments for which I’ve lived as long as I can remember.

Today I perceive the world differently than I did as a child. I still fall, but I fear other things more than gravity; (forgetting an important appointment), hatred, disease, poverty. I still don’t like falling much, a-n-n-d I dread landings more than ever. Even so I dance, jog and sometimes run. Okay, I sprint and I walk after dusk. I am more convinced than ever before the end result is the same.

In my case that would be heaven. Thank you, Jesus!

“For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (The Voice)

* Philippians 3:12 (NLT)

Image courtesy Pixabay

 

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East Wind – Walk #10

20170228_123052

“Winds from the east. Mist comin’ in.
Like somthin’ was brewin’; about to begin.
Can’t put me finger on what lies in store.
But I feel what’s to ‘appen, all ‘appened before!”
– Bert, from Mary Poppins, by P. L. Travers

Cocony joined Captain, Scout and me for our noontime walk today. We breathed deeply, taking in signs of new life springing from last year’s thawing remains; the fresh, 42 degree air feeling like 62 degrees after such extreme cold for so long here. Still mostly gray and brown in the pastures, we all felt exhilarated there too!

Enjoy glimpses of our piece of the world today:

20170228_123411 20170228_123141 20170228_123300

20170228_122832 20170228_123156

 20170228_122450 20170228_122417 20170228_122304

 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)

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