Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Stills


Renatta, Charlotte and Cinnamon

Walden and Fabrizzio

Gus and Donneur

B-Rad and Blu

Sebastian

Bruno

Merlin

Homer



Hemi and Thomas

Traveller

Romeo and Faune

Flyer and Asterik

Gibson and Lofty

Cocomo

Cino

Hesse

Ripley was the latest napper on a compost pile. It seems like the piles would be hot but all the horses seem to think otherwise.

a new face; Dawn


 our other new face, Wilson


Thursday, July 21, 2016

More Pony Wars

The picture of Charlotte and Norman grooming below is my pick for picture of the week. It isn't a particularly good picture as far as the quality of just about any aspect of the picture, but the content of the picture is what is so surprising to me. I was grooming some of the horses in Norman's pasture and happened to look up and see Norman and Charlotte having a grooming session. I was at the opposite end of the pasture and had to use the full zoom on my camera, but I was not letting that moment pass without a picture. 

We all know that Norman is quite the lady's man, I've often written about the pony wars.  Almost without exception, every mare that meets Norman falls in love with him. They don't fall a little bit in love, they fall hard. The problem is that Norman never wants to move the relationship past a certain point. He doesn't want to get engaged, and he isn't even going to think about getting married. He doesn't want to move in together. He doesn't even want you to leave a toothbrush at his house. He just wants to hang out and have a good time. That's it, nothing more. The second Norman catches a whiff of a mare wanting more he's out of there. 

Over the last three months both Charlotte and Renatta have been friendly with Norman since they arrived, but they otherwise seemed immune to his charms. He was just another pal in the pasture, nothing more. I commented to Jason a few days ago that I was noticing Renatta with Norman more and more which surprised me. Then over a couple of days I saw Charlotte near Norman a lot. I was stunned when I looked up and saw the cozy, intimate grooming session happening yesterday. 

Charlotte is full of herself, independent, the type of girl that doesn't need a guy in her life and is ready to take on the world. I never, ever thought she would give a player like Norman more than a polite hello. Yet there they were, off by themselves in the pasture, grooming and nuzzling each other. 

I don't know if Charlotte started noticing Renatta's increasing interest in Norman and it sparked her competitive nature or just exactly how their tryst came about. I do know that I am now convinced that Norman's abilities to charm the ladies are officially awe inspiring. I keep telling all the mares they need to read the book "He's Just Not That In To You" but they never listen. Norman strikes again. 

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Norman and Charlotte enjoying an intimate encounter off by themselves

MyLight and Calimba; Calimba falls for Norman over and over again. I can't believe she continues to take him back. 

Fabrizzio and Havana grooming

Faune and Silver grooming

Grooming was in the air around here the last few days; Cinnamon and Traveller

Gus and Lofty

Asterik and George

Toledo and Rocky

Lighty and Miel

Remmy and Cino


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gone Fishing

The last couple of days I've thought a lot about our pet cow Buster. I don't know why he was suddenly on my mind so much. Then, in my Facebook memories, it reminded me that we said our final goodbyes to Buster two years ago today. Thanks Facebook, not a memory I really wanted to be reminded of, but there you go. It's odd but I found myself randomly thinking about Buster a lot at this time last year, and then I realized it was the anniversary of his passing. I'm terrible with dates so it isn't in my nature to remember anniversaries and such. In Buster's memorial post I shared part of the story of his passing. Last year I shared the rest of the story. 

Since I've been thinking about Buster a lot I decided to share the rest of the story again tonight. Below is the post I wrote a year ago about the rest of the story.  

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It has been exactly one year since our pet cow Buster passed. I'm not usually much of one for specifically remembering certain dates, heck sometimes I have to take a moment to remember exactly when my own birthday is. But for reasons that I can't quite put my finger on, Buster's passing has been much on my mind the last few days. A couple of days ago I told Jason that I had been thinking about Buster a lot and that I though it had been right at a year since his passing. He thought I was a few weeks early but I looked it up and it was exactly one year ago so I was strangely accurate in my musings. 

Buster saying hi. Behind him is the old farm house that my dad refused to have torn down.

Buster was the World's Most Awesome Pet Cow. He was born at my parents' Windy Hills Farm and lived out his entire 19 years there. My mom named him Buster the day he was born, and somehow from his first day it was simply understood that Buster was going to become the first official Pet Cow at Windy Hills Farm. No one in our family ever looked at each other and said "hey, let's keep this one." It was simply understood that that was how it was going to be. So Buster stayed for 19 years and grew into an 18+ hand, 3,000 pound pet steer. 

Buster


Buster was always very friendly and pet-like, and seemed to understand that he was never going anywhere. When we would sort and load cattle Buster would calmly mill around with the "unsaved" cows and was never nervous about the trailer. He clearly knew he wasn't going anywhere. He would go in the loading chute with the other cows, and one time he even quietly walked on the trailer and stood there for a moment. He was so tall he had to duck his head to get on the stock trailer, and after standing with his head down (so he wouldn't hit his head on the roof of the trailer) he calmly walked off the trailer and returned himself to his pasture.

This picture gives some perspective on just how big Buster was. The black cow on the right is his mom, Beulah.


Buster's passing was not unexpected last summer. He had been slowing down physically for awhile. The last few weeks he had started having trouble getting up after being down for a nap. He always managed to get up but sometimes it was a struggle. We were all keeping a close eye on him, and the day he refused to get up, as in wouldn't even try, we let him go. I wrote about some of the events of the day in his memorial post, but I left out part of the story.

After Jason and I had our little tiff about who was going to actually end Buster's life (I let Jason "win" that argument), Jason bravely stepped up and did the deed. He told Buster he was sorry and that he didn't want to do this, petted him on the head, and then pulled the trigger. It was an instant passing and a very sad moment in time for me. Buster represented everything that was right and perfect about a huge part of my life, almost 20 years of it. In the last couple of years since my Dad's passing it has been sad watching my parents' little animal kingdom, and what seemed like a whole period of our lives, fade away. Buster's passing epitomized that to me.

Buster and the other pet cows passing a leisurely afternoon


The part of the story I left out of Buster's original memorial post begins after he passed. Jason kindly did the actual deed, then we needed to move Buster's body. He left to go get the tractor and left me sitting with Buster. Buster had been laying down by the side of the pond, the side of the pond that had a steep slope down into the pond. 

I sat a few feet away from Buster thinking about life.  As I sat there reflecting on things Buster's body shuddered a little bit. That sometimes happens after things die. His body moved maybe an inch or two closer to the edge of the steep slope to the pond. 

a day in the life of Buster


I didn't think too much of it until Buster's body slid again, this time a couple of feet, and that left him half up on the ridge and half on the slope. I had a split second where I was thinking "oh my God, he's going to . . ." and I didn't get to complete the thought. Because at that moment Buster's body slid all the way down the slope into the pond complete with a big plop as his body hit the water. He was completely submerged. Talk about a bad day getting a lot worse.

I burst into tears. I couldn't believe it had happened. I hoped my mom wasn't watching from one of the upstairs windows of her house. I called my friend Wren. I don't really remember what I said except she made me feel better. Then I just stood there, crying, waiting for Jason to come back. 

Jason finally came back on the tractor, he'd had to go to the opposite end of the farm to get it. He turned the tractor off and walked up the slope to where I was standing. He didn't say anything for a long minute. He kept staring at me. Finally Jason spoke. He chose his words carefully and tried to remain neutral. He said "When I left you were just sitting here quietly next to Buster. Now you're standing here crying and there is no Buster." 

I pointed to the pond. Through my tears I said "Buster slid into the p-p-pond."  And I cried even harder.

Jason stood there for a moment, looking at the pond. The tip of one of Buster's hooves was just barely visible above the surface of the water. 

I said in my sobbing voice "you have to go in there and get him out." 

Jason walked back and forth along the edge of the pond. He was talking but I wasn't listening. He paced, back and forth, back and forth. I understand why. My dad had kept his pond extremely well stocked with catfish and a lot of them were big. My dad had also regularly aerated the pond. However that hadn't been done since my dad passed so the water was dark and murky. Jason had the unenviable task of going in dark, murky water full of carniverous catfish that he wasn't going to be able to see to get a chain around Buster. I can't blame him for pacing around talking to himself. 

Finally Jason picked up the chain, picked his way down the slope to the pond, took a deep breath to brace himself for the experience and waded in. He, of course, wasn't prepared to be wading into a pond and didn't have on rubber boots or anything practical for the circumstances we now found ourselves in. I'm pretty sure he was still talking to himself as he waded in. He put the chain around the one leg that was just barely sticking up out of the water. He hustled out of the pond, got on the tractor, and started trying to pull Buster out of the pond. 

Of course we only had the 60hp, non 4WD tractor, it had been raining, Buster was huge and the slope was steep. The chain popped off during the first try. Jason had to wade back into the murky pond full of catfish a second time and put the chain on again. I'm pretty sure Jason wanted to start crying with me at that point.

Thankfully Jason was able to fish our 18 hand, 3,000 pound cow out of the pond on the second try. I told Jason he forever had bragging rights about catching The Big One. For everyone that thinks having a farm and lots of livestock is wonderful, I'm here to tell you it is. Until you have days like that, where you have to fish your dead Pet Cow out of the pond. 

A year later Jason and I can look back on that part of the story and get some laughs out of it. I mean, you can't make this stuff up, or the truth is stranger than fiction. But we can truthfully claim that we fished a dead cow out of a pond.

And now you know the rest of the story.

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Duesy and Bruno

Gus

Faune

Sam and Johnny

Cino and Merlin

Havana grazing with a deer

Cinnamon and Traveller

Cocomo, Silver and Romeo

Donovan and Oskar

Elfin, Grand and Rip

Tony and Homer

a closer look at Tony