Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Second Sunday

It is the second Sunday after the beginning of college football Saturdays. We are all sitting on the front porch, Mark in the swing, me in the white wicker, Gracie in the next chair down, and Heidi on the floor beside her. It is so pleasant to be out here thanks to a cold front that blew in yesterday afternoon, which kindly dropped a good bit of rain, then blew in a heavenly dose of cooler and much drier air in behind it. 

It is amazing to me just how much easier it is to live when the temps give you a break after enduring the misery of summer here. It is as though life has resumed again, and all of those things that I have put off for fear of heat stroke I can now think about getting them done. Maybe, tomorrow. For the rest of this afternoon this is enough, simply sitting and writing and listening to the hummingbirds' chirps and to the shot gun blasts of the near by dove hunters blasting the sky with pellets in an attempt to bring down a small grey bird or two for their dinners. 

Dove are probably the most expensive form of meat there is, between the cost of land to shoot them over, the sometimes outrageously expensive shot guns, equipment to manage the land to grow the grain to attract the birds, and the endless amounts of ammunition it takes if one is not a very good shot at them. The list of other stuff that is largely a matter of choice and is not required, but admired if had. By the time the cleaned bird (assuming one is good enough to hit a few) is thoroughly gone over to make sure all of the pieces of shot left in the breasts is taken out, and then floured and browned, simmered in gravy til they are soft and moist, one has had quite a full day and one has amassed quite an investment in your tiny meal. 

There are infinitely more easier ways to get a meal, but sitting on the edge of a browned field in camouflage on a day like today, maybe with a good retriever next to you waiting with anticipation that you might actually hit something it can go bring back to you, with friends stationed not to close and not to far away around the perimeter of the field can be quite a wonderful experience. Back when my eyes weren’t such an issue and my right shoulder had any hope of not falling off with the recoil of a well aimed gun, I used to enjoy the drama of the day’s hunt and it was a good thing to be a true hunter gatherer and bring a batch of birds home to cook. Today though I am content to just listen to their shots and to the lingering echos as the sound travels across our farm. 

Yesterday amid the preparation for watching our team play its second game, and watching other teams win and lose, I happened to glance out of the window which faces south to the pasture where Frank, Joline’s two year old colt lives now. Since we have lived out here my daily glances out of the window has taught me much about what the horses are normally doing at different times of the day, where they tend to hang out, and such.  Any abnormal behavior is like a red flag to me now. Frank was not acting normal.

 I watched for a few more minutes before heading out to go see what was going on. At the barn I grabbed a halter, and the tube of Bannamine (first line of defense against colic, it is a smooth muscle relaxer and pain reliever), and was saying some hail marys as I walked towards a strangely quiet colt that he was not going to be heading into a full blown colic.

Sometimes it sure would be nice if horses could speak english or that I was better at hearing what they are saying. Frank greeted me with an unenthusiastic sniff of my hand, then resumed his head lowered position ignoring me. That, was way out of character. Ordinarily if I walk to and from the barn Frank gallops to the fence to join me. He also plays with toys and generally amuses himself by staying busy or letting himself out of the field or stall to check out life outside of the fence.

This boy was not right so I began checking other visuals. His breathing was fairly normal for the heat, his pulse was a slow squish through the vein which crosses under his jaw, and he did not look to be in pain, just very very quiet and dull. I kept the medicine in my pocket and chose to give him a bit more time to show something more for me to go on, and turned to walk back to the barn and house. He made a slow few steps to follow but declined and went back to the shade of the persimmon tree.

I came back in and periodically watched for signs of distress, and called my vet who advised to go ahead with the Bannamine just in case. I did, and began to wait, for him and for the game which was about to start about the same time the oncoming front was beginning to loom heavily over the horizon rumbling as it came nearer. The rains came and the medicine must’ve been a good plan, because my repeated trips to the window showed that Frank was hanging out with the mares under the shed, and looked much more lively. That was a good thing too, just in time for the game to start. The game was a shutout for our team as victors, once again, so that also made for a good night.

It has been generally a good week on the farm, heat excluded, especially for Gracie the mighty Yorkie, now referred to as Little Big Dog, or the terror. One day this week she disappeared for a while, longer than usual, so I called her to see where she was. Up she sprang from the edge of the pond carrying an unidentifiable thing which was flapping as she ran. Closer exam of her prize was a slightly stiff but not yet too stinky Bream, a panfish, and she was proud of her find. It took some doing and chasing but I finally convinced her that I really needed it and she let me take it away, in time before she rolled on it. 

Gracie also met up with another fun toy, a Great Blue Herron, who had landed or somehow gotten into our yard and could not get off the ground to fly. This was good chase for the little dog who didn’t come up to the giant bird’s ankles, but who bravely tried to bite the wing feathers and barked viscously at the disabled flying dinosaur. I had to call her off the bird for fear of her being speared by the long rapier beak of the poor bird. Gracie removed, the bird meandered down the path of the pond dam and hopefully  will get over its plight and fly away.

Today was pleasant enough for a good bike ride so we rode our miles in the bright blue sunshine, jumped into the still warm pool afterwards and met the kids in town for brunch at the marina. The grand kid was great and charmed us all of course. Another Sunday almost done I am finding myself looking forward to the many possibilities of stuff to get done with a cool week ahead. It is a long list but, to conquer it, will be great.

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