Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Is Upon Us

Spring is upon us. Years ago, my friend Lisa and I were in charge of the big spring blow out ad for the local newspaper advertising the paint that was on sale at the store where we worked. It became a joke between us that instead of coming up with something original, each year the ad began with that same tag line. It seemed to work and was quick and no one was the wiser.

The arrival of spring shows its signs different ways to different people. The first flower, the buds on the trees, the first robin, etc. For horse people however, the first signs of spring are things that most people would not even notice. The snow turns to mud and the slop in our pastures makes way to green grass. The fat that has kept our horses warm all winter turns to muscle before our very eyes as we struggle to lose our own fat that has come from riding less during the cold winter months. We pray for rain so the price of hay goes down and then we pray for less rain so the hay doesnt mold in the fields come bailing time. Longer days allow us to get more things done and we sit for hours cleaning and conditioning the endless leather goods that come with having horses in our lives. Breeding and foaling season make the excitement in the barn a never ending flurry of activity. All of these things signal the end of winter and the new hope of spring and at the top of the list is this.

SHEDDING! As the days get longer and the weather a little warmer, the challenge begins. We know that under that dull winter coat caked with mud is a shiny, smooth summer coat that is waiting to be found. We know it is there because when the horses lay down to roll, they leave behind a pile of hair that looks as though there is an extra horse in the pasture. Oh yes, we can cheat and cheat we do by double worming them in an effort to push the process. We can blanket them to sweat it out. We add supplements to their feed with the promise of a shiny coat but in the end we know that the answer is elbow grease. It is taking a rubber curry and a shedding blade and spending hours brushing them. That is the only way to find that summer coat. We know that most of that hair is going to end up covering our gloves and jackets and blowing across the round pen for the birds to collect and use in their nests. We find great joy when we get that rare day that is warm enough to pull out all the stops and actually bathe the horses because as they dry and the sun shines on them, we can actually see spots of the new coat. Still, there are patches of the old lighter coat that remain and the brushing becomes a challenge of getting rid of these mangey looking areas. Only then is spring truly here.

The view from the back of my horse is the cloud of hair that he leaves behind as he sheds out his winter coat and reminds me of the beautiful horse that I know and love. Spring is upon us, everyone and that means it is time to break out the curry brush and get busy. Don't even get me started on the time it is going to take to comb the knots out of that mane and tail!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cats, cousins and Contests

Thanks Michelle for linking this blog to my site so I can share thoughts with those who come to visit. That said, I am dizzy today. No really, dizzier than usual because apparently I have a viral infection that has spread to my middle ear and glands. They have me on steroids for 10 days so this is the view from my horse while dizzy and on steroids! Lucky you.

Yesterday, I ventured out to the barn to find an unnamed barn cat walking backwards. Ok, I know what you are thinking, steroids and! She was walking backwards and then running into the tree. Walking backwards and running into the barn. As I got closer, it became all too clear why she was acting dizzier than me. She had a JIF peanut butter jar covering her head. It was on there tight and as she breathed, the clear plastic grew cloudy from her breath and as she tried to breathe in, it would clear. I convinced her to allow me to pick her up but once I grabbed hold of the jar, all hell broke loose. It was on there really, really tight! She attacked me and actually drew blood so I let go of her. As she staggered into the corral to the neighbors house, I called for back up. Our dear friends Mary and Sherry next door who proceeded to catch the cat again and cut the peanut butter jar off her head. So the cat finally has a name...JARHEAD. I wonder if JIF knows about this. Life is wierd, moving on...

This morning I am sitting here with my mind racing and fever blaring when the phone rings. It is approximately 9am. A really friendly male voice on the other end informs me that he started reading one of my books at 3am and has just finished. His name was Marvin Bastian from Franklin Tennessee and he wanted to know if we were related. Now I suppose we are related somewhere down the pike but for the life of me, I cant figure out how. I am still trying to figure out why he was reading instead of sleeping. Bear and I visited Franklin once and felt right at home so maybe thats why. So Marvin was really nice and we talked for a long time and I hung up wondering if he realized how sick I was. More importantly, if I said anything to embarass myself, I appologize. So Marvin, even if we arent really cousins, I think we are now. We will meet ya in the little diner in Leapers Fork across the road from the General Lee car and the outside movie screen. Keep in touch cousin!

Idle minds and steroids are a really bad combination. I mentioned in an earlier blog that Dove chocolates was holding a contest for the best expression of love phrase and the prize was a beautiful bracelet. Sitting here this morning in my jammies and hoodie with my tissues and the remote, I got a little bored. I have followed this contest for months. The reason is that I am a writer and I like to write slogans for fun. I have created an entire advertising campaign for Wendys and another for Harley Davidson. No really, the only difference is that I usually keep them to myself. I did share the one for Wendys with my friend Laura who works for Wendys but other than that, I keep them to myself. Ok, that is where the steriods come in. So I have been following this contest and going to the site every few days because I really, really want that bracelet! Today, I surf on over and guess what? It's gone. The site is there but the contest is gone, it's over! There is no list of winners and I havent been called to be told that my beautiful bracelet is on its way to me. Soooooo I pick up the phone and call the MARS company who makes Dove chocolates and I ask a simple question... "Who won the pretty bracelet in the contest?" She says "What contest?"

"What contest?!" Is she kidding? You know, the one that I grew obsessed with and entered and dreamed about winning. That contest, of course. So I proceed to tell this poor customer service rep the story of how my husband used to bring me Dove chocolates to tell me he loved me and how he almost died and had to have two open heart surgeries and had three strokes and two back surgeries and how much hell our life was and how I knew it was over and everything was all right because he brought me a Dove chocolate. I know, I know but I really loved that bracelet! If someone is going to hold a contest, they should at least tell us who won, right?

So anyway, Bear will be home soon to take away the phone I am sure. I feel like Poo, JARHEAD is free of the peanut butter jar, I have a new cousin named Marvin in Tennessee I still have a fever and I still have to take the steroids for another nine days and (I still have my cell phone.) Tee Hee. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I am sick so if you are as bored as I am, pick up your phone and give me a call. Or better yet, call Dove and tell them I want my bracelet. Going to sleep now.