The horse's pasture to the East...

Saturday, January 9, 2010


You're wondering about the title. It's the way I feel after I've been out, slogging through 2 and 3 foot snow drifts when it's 5 degrees and the wind is blowing from the North. I get so "off in the zone" that it's almost like hallucinating. FLASH BACK...FLASH BACK!

Today my letter is for my friend, Ms. H., who I just talked with. Inside the letter is a smaller one addressed to her Granddaughter, Little Miss A. I'll start with Little Miss A.

Sweetheart, I am so sorry you haven't been able to come out to see Willow and Lucky and Apache. I know I told you to come when the grass went to sleep and took all of the bugs with it. And I know you've realized the grass is VERY ASLEEP right now, with a deep blanket of snow on top.

But the blanket is so deep, the road is too hard for your Grandma's car to get here safely. And it's so cold, you would have a very hard time walking from the top of the hill, clear out to my house. She can't bring you because it's too dangerous for little people right now.

Take the time that it patient. The snow will melt and then you can come out. Willow will still be here, and happy to see you. I'll have her little halter ready for you to take her for a walk.

Listen to your Mom and Dad and Grandma. They love you. And help with Little Miss I. Little sisters are pretty cool to have and Miss I. needs you to be there and to love her.

My love to you! Miss Nancy, smiling BIG TIME!

And there's my letter in the letter!

I have an adventure in the cold to tell you about. It happened two days ago. I was so blown out, I didn't write it then. Mea culpa!

I need to set the tone and zone first. It was 3 degrees that morning and the wind was blowing out of the N/NW at 20 to 30 MPH. The sun was shining. That helped. But it had snowed the day and night before again, so there was another six to eight inches of snow on top of the never melted snow from Christmas Eve...the one that was 14 inches or so. Whew! Most snow we've had here in years .

It was so cold that when I opened the gate to OUTSIDE, the horses just stood there and gave me the "Are you nuts? The wind is blowing and it's cold!" look. I'll never listen to anyone again that says animals aren't intelligent. I was the one out, wading through drifts, not them! Who's really working for whom? You get the picture.

I gave them all an extra measure of grain and free access to hay. Hay is very important to horses in extreme cold. Keeps their body warm with all the energy it takes to digest the roughage. That's what they're made to hay and grass! Coats with buckles and straps on horses is a human thing, thank you very much. Nature made them to do just fine on their own.

Then I got down to the hard part...poop scooping and water bucket filling. Actually, I like the hard physical part of caring for horses. It's my time to work out (much nicer than any gym!) and meditate or, even better, not think. Just fill my head with quiet. But when you have to scoop poop that's frozen to the bottom of the stall and the ground, it involves picks and hoes and a bit of pounding.

Now, I don't even mind that so much as I do the wind and drifting snow. I spent part of my childhood in Wisconsin and Maine, so this kind of weather is not that intimidating for me. I have good memories of those years, so I kind of like it. But the wind was blowing so hard and the snow was so fine and dry, it kept filling the trails I broke to get over to the compost . I had to break a new trail every time I went back out with a full muck bucket!

I kept going though. I can get kind of monkey brained goal oriented about things. I want to leave my barn clean every single morning! Weather doesn't stop me. No siree bob a loo. I'm a lean mean fighting machine! I'M FROM KANSAS! I'M A GOLDERN JAYHAWK!!!! So cold or no cold, wind or no wind, I was going to get the job done. (Of course, all this time the horse were tucked up inside their tidy stalls with deep bedding and huge mounds of Summer green hay, watching me and shaking their heads at the lunacy of humans. "Uh huh. There she goes again. Hasn't got a lick of sense, does she Lucky?" I should mention that the stalls are permanently opened. They come and go at will. Smart horses!)

I went back and forth, back and forth, amazed at the disappearing paths in the snow. I got slower and slower too, but I was still going to get it done because I knew it would be three times as much work if I didn't, the next time I came out. And I always clean my barn in the mornings!

I was getting pretty tired by the last load. It had been a poop party the night before, with all the extra hay they're getting to stay warm. Lots and lots of compost for my Spring garden...lots and lots and lots. I decided to take a lazy man's load the last time out and just get it done, so I overloaded my muck bucket and looked at the filled in path yet one more time and began to sing the music from Doctor Zhivago in my head. It was the Russian Steppes and I needed to walk home, across the endless snow.

I started up the hill, dragging, dragging and breaking the trail one more time, trying to just get over to my mountains of compost with the last load. I was very Russian about it, stoic and determined with great music behind me. The light was perfect and I was the beautiful, if a bit tired, Lara. Men would write poetry to me after my epic journey to the poop pile, across the frozen tundra!

And then it happened! The goldern frapping muck bucket flipped and, when I turned to stop it ... I DID NOT WANT TO SCOOP IT TWICE!!! grabbed me and over I went too. I landed on my back with about a hundred pounds of fresh, steaming horse manure in my lap! I was buried in a bank of snow, covered in shit and I was by myself! It was a tense moment, to be sure. What if I died in a mound of horse poop and the snow drifted over me? John would never find me and my body wouldn't show up until Spring! Yeah, I know. I can get pretty dramatic sometimes. But I'm Lara, remember? And there's great music.

Only Lara never had to deal with a hundred pounds of horse poop in her lap. And there were no makeup artists to put just the right little smudges on my face so I would look sexy, helpless and determined at the same time. I was just a middle aged lady in Kansas, in a snow bank with poop in my lap!

I remember laying there and thinking "Well, this isn't so bad. It's actually kind of comfortable, warm even. And I like the smell of horse poop...right? And the sky is pretty today too. Not bad. Not bad at all." That's when I started to laugh. It's my solution to all of the problems that the world presents...laugh! And it was funny. And the snow really was beginning to drift over me. And, here's the wonderful part, I was forced to stop and look...really the sky.

I'd had so many layers on, trying to protect my skin, that I'd been pretty much just looking down through the scarves and hat, at the ground in front of me. I'd forgotten to just look! It was beautiful! And with the dry, tiny flakes of snow blowing constantly the snow was making these perfect rainbows everywhere I looked. And that's why I wrote FLASHBACK. It was like being high with beautiful colorful rainbows everywhere.

People, I can tell you from experience that you don't need anything to enhance your imagination when you live outside. There's always something to blow your circuits with...something so breathtaking that you have to pause and just say " Thank you!"

Well, I did get up. I did go inside. And I did rescoop the poop, one more time with a few words uttered that were as blue and clear as the sky. And I did laugh. I'm still laughing as I write this!

I'm glad you're my friend and Muse. More later gater.

Nancy, head back and laughing...out the door to freeze my tuckas off one more time

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