Feeding the Critters

My parents were out of town for a few days at a conference, so we had to take care of “the critters.” Today we woke up to snow and hit the high temperature for the day before noon. It was a wet snow that mostly melted by the afternoon, perfect for snowball fights and snowman building. The ground was too warm for it to stick, but it should be interesting tomorrow.

It wasn't as cold as it looks. Pretty all the same.

My husband went this morning to check on things and feed. I took the afternoon shift.

On my way out to the ranch I saw this pretty oak tree. (this was a southern-facing tree, so no snow).

Oak trees are awesome. I think this one is a post oak. Can't be sure and I wasn't going to find out for sure in my fancy pretty boots.

When I drove up, two of the four horses greeted me. The sun was going down, the wind was blowing and it was starting to get really cold.

Sugar and Bucky. I've always been partial to red roans.

They had to get a closer look …

Bucky (aka McCool) had to see for himself.
Then Sugar had to go and stick her nose in it.
I think this is such a cool photo.

Before anything can happen, I had to change my boots. Pretty, fashion boots to working-hard-rubber boots.

Taking Kelly's advice ... changed my boots before tromping around in wet manure.

My husband said he ran out of feed after the morning rounds. Before I went to the ranch I stopped and got a couple bags of feed (this was when Kelly, at the feed story, passed on friendly advice to change boots. check.). Once I opened the saddle house (aka the tack room) to get the cat food, I found, hmmm curiously, three more bags of feed.

Feed.

The barn cats are almost feral. Most can be persuaded into a little petting, but a few are very skittish around people except for my dad. He can woo almost any animal into trusting him.

Barn cats are awesome critters. The keep the mice and snakes away.

Although this fluffy Tom cat crawled on top of the saddle house and stared down at me.

Snake-killing Tom Cat says: "I'm not coming down and you can't make me."

The weaning calves were looking for a bite to eat too. They saw me and starting coming briskly to the barn. I gave them an extra dab since the cold was coming on. With an expected low in the lower 20s, a few extra cubes couldn’t hurt.

Sore thumb? Who sticks out like a sore thumb?

This corriente calf looks out of place among the black baldy/Angus calves. We’re currently eating a corriente hybrid out of our freezer—good eats!

Happy critters.

Then I went in the house to feed the indoor cats, only to find that they opted out of the litter box 😦

Thanks for “Ponies”

I’m so thankful Thanksgiving is over… it was just the holiday I needed but I’m glad to get back to it starting Monday.

Tonight we had a special treat. We got back from visiting my husband’s family around 6 p.m. Then my parents came to our house about 6:45 with our dog and we got to visit with them.

We got a rare treat when my dad took up the guitar and played two or three songs. They were old-fashioned, traditional cowboy songs. My favorite of all the music my dad plays. Tonight he played a cowboy campfire Christmas tune and an all-time favorite, “ponies,” which is a song about a horse whisperer.

When I was pregnant with my son, every time I heard the song it would make me cry. Personally I think this song should always be sung in a small setting and acoustically. John Denver recorded the song and it’s featured on his Different Directions album. The produced, recorded versions lose the intimate feel of what the song is all about. This is a beautiful song about a cowboy who understands and communicates with horses in a way that no one else can.

Most of us have encountered a person like the one in the song – a person who has a way with dogs, or horses, or babies or whatever it is that can’t speak. If you’ve ever ridden a horse and been in complete unison with the animal, this song will move you.

Ponies

Somewhere out on the prairie
Is the greatest cowboy that’s ever been
And when he lays his hands upon the ponies
They shudder with an understanding skin

And he says ponies
Now ponies don’t you worry
I have not come to steal your fire away
I want to fly with you across the sunrise
Discover what begins each shining day

When the storm clouds in the west
Are quickly gathering
The ponies they run wild there
Before it rains

You’ll see their sleek dark bodies
Brightly gleaming
You know the fire is flying through
Their veins

And he says ponies
Now ponies don’t you worry
I have not come to steal your fire away
I want to fly with you across the sunrise
Discover what begins each shining day

And he says ponies
Now ponies don’t you worry
I have not come to steal your fire away
I want to fly with you across the sunrise
Discover what begins each shining day

And he says ponies
Ponies don’t you worry
I have not come to steal your fire away
I want to fly with you across the sunrise
Discover what begins each shining day

Words and music by Jeffrey Bullock

Today We Rode a Horse

Today school was out, but I had to work. I had three big deadlines bearing down on me so I worked late even on a holiday eve. Fortunately my mother was off today and took Jdubs for the day. He had a great time, as always.

Today was special because Jdubs really wanted his grandfather to take him for a horse ride.

This is Sugar ...

And that is exactly what they did.

Sugar is a good little starter horse. Very gentle. She's a borrowed horse. It's a common thing to do.

Jdubs decided that he didn’t need any help so he took the reins and took off. It was a great day indeed.

Jdubs is the 4th generation to ride this saddle.

Our legs are finally long enough to reach the stirrups.

That's one happy kid.

And that is a summary on why we live here – because we can go to our grandparents house on a Wednesday before Thanksgiving and ride our horse all by ourselves for the first time.