The horse's pasture to the East...

Friday, December 31, 2010


The years race by, don't they? I remember hearing my two Grandmothers laughing in the kitchen like girls. I'll never know what it was they were giggling about. They wouldn't tell me. I was a little girl. But I remember what they looked like, sitting at the little table with the red linoleum top. For just those few moments, there were no years between us. They were girls, like me, that time  had worked on just a bit more.

More than fifty years have gone past since that memory. They ran through my hands like water from a leaky faucet. But, oh, haven't I had fun watching it run away from me! I learned from my Grandmothers that day. They were my best teachers. They told me " Honey, LIVE! Live every single day with no regrets. Live big, live hard, live well. Push yourself. Decide who you want to be, then be better. And remember to laugh. It makes things that much sweeter."

I always loved the "...then be better." part of that conversation. It gave me liberty to keep trying, to keep pushing, to have no limits. I've "failed" over and over in my life, but never at anything serious. I lost a business or two, lost our house, and lost quite a bit of money but those aren't things I count as "serious". I'm one of the luckiest (spelled W O R K) people I know. I still have my family.

I watched an old cowboy movie last night. In it, one of the leads says " Blood counts." It does too. But my family is bigger than that. I have "family" all over the world. We talk about our horses, our children, our spouses and lovers, our dogs, politics and religion (although I'm very careful with those subjects, even with my "blood" relatives), aches, pains, joys and sorrows.

And I have my horses. I spent the evening outside with them tonight, watching the sun go down. It was cold. The wind whistled out of the North...nothing like last night when it was still 60 at bed time. The year is going out on a hard North wind bringing ice in the buckets and making  branches in the tree clack like old bones. And I guess they are too. This year is nearly gone, just like all the others. And it's going out with laughter behind it, pushing it's way through all the cracks and crevices.

A couple of weeks ago I came out to the barn after taking the dogs in, to bring the herd in from OUTSIDE. They'd been out long enough on the hay field. It was time for grain and the second half of the day.

The barn door was open! I didn't leave it like that. I was pretty sure. But maybe it was the "pretty sure" part that was important here, so I shrugged and wandered on out into the field to see where they were.

I couldn't see them. That's not too unusual. There are hills and valleys, trees, and hidden places out there. And Apache especially loves to play Hide and Go Seek. They were probably just around the bend, hiding back behind the locust trees. I decided to go mix the grain and supplements first, then whistle them in. So I walked back to the barn, turning the corner to go in the doors, thinking about the games I wanted to focus on with them. I wasn't prepared for what I found.

Apache was up on the hay stack! He had his back hooves on the bottom row of hay bales and his front hooves up on the next row. He turned to look at me, then reached up and grabbed a bale and threw it over his head to Lucky. From the looks of things, he'd been doing that for a while too. There were bales all over the barn! My first thought was "HORSES DON'T CLIMB HAYSTACKS!" Obviously I was wrong about that one. And my second thought was " AND THEY DON'T TOSS BALES EITHER!" The only thing to do was to dissolve in a gale of laughter, of course!

I leaned back against the wall, slapped my hands on my cheeks and out loud, bent over belly laugh. And I didn't have my camera with me either. Why is it the best stuff happens when I don't have my camera? Well, this morning I DID have my camera. I caught some of it as it happened. They'd planned it while I took the dogs inside again, the rascals!

Bring up the Mission Impossible music. My Left Brain Extrovert is ready to play! The world is his oyster.

And I didn't leave that door open either. So who opened it? And where's Lucky and Willow?

Now I want to stop here for just a moment and ask you to think about what they had to work out on their own to accomplish what they did. I haven't directly taught them any of this. They learned and generalized by watching me.

I have a rope hung on the door because it's hard to open. It gives me leverage to pull an old, creaky, slightly crooked door with some ease. One of them had to figure that to grab that rope and which way to pull it to open the door. It slides to the side, not out. And then they had to go through a squeeze, an opening not much bigger than them and into their barn from a direction they usually don't go. Everything looks different to them from the outside.

Apache wasn't all the way up this time...just part way up onto the pallets that they hay is sitting on to keep it dry and well ventilated. I followed him in, so he's not the only culprit here. See those little legs back behind Apache? (the spots are probably spit from me laughing so hard while I took pictures! I'm usually pretty good with a camera, but I had to prop my hand on the table to shoot this. I was laughing that hard!)

Hale, hale the gang's all here! I didn't correct the reflections in their eyes because they're all little "devils" in this episode. 15 acres of hay on the ground, but it's much better when it's stolen goods! Not one of them is showing any remorse either. Look kind of smug, don't they? And look at Apache! He's going up the stack again! Well, one thing I've got to say. It's never, ever dull! And, just between you and me, I'm so proud of them my buttons are popping!

Something like this means that they, all three, have real self confidence. They're thinking and planning and accomplishing difficult tasks on their own. And they all have such confidence and trust in me that they just kept eating, even when I caught them. (No one ever takes me seriously when I'm laughing...sigh.)

I am having so much fun with my life! The hard things make me stronger. The "failures" teach me better than any of the "successes" ever do. The easy parts? That's where I catch my breath. I laugh every single day about something, even when I have to spend another half hour cleaning things up...again.

I hope you, faithful reader, find something to laugh about as your year runs out too. And I hope your New Year is never, ever dull. I know mine won't be. 2011 is going to be great!

This is the last sunset of 2010 from our place here in OZ. Look out 2011! I'm hitting the ground running this year.  YEEEEEEEEEE HAAAAAAAWWWW!  I am having so much fun!

I am, ever yours, Nancy, head back and laughing!

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