Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

          Yesterday I spent most of my time working in the yard and garden. I planted herbs,  planted some hanging baskets, hauled tree limbs into a pile, and scrubbed horse troughs. Needless to say, I ended up using muscles that I had not used since last fall, and when I woke up this morning, I was a little sore. No problem...I would just do the bare essentials today and I'd be fine tomorrow. The only unusual thing was a farrier appointment at 3:30.
          My morning was fine. About 1:00, the meter reader came by. About 1:18, I went outside because something just didn't seem right. When the meter reader backed up to turn around and leave, he managed to wipe out one section of the electric fence. Did he let me know? Of course not. Were the horses patiently waiting for me to fix the fence while they chewed their grass? (I can dream, can't I?)
          Haley, always the perfectly behaved horse, was eating grass near the front door of the house. I was able to walk up to her, put my hand on her mane, and walk her easily to the paddock where I could lock her in while grabbing the other two beasts. But they are no where to be seen. There were hoof prints leading down our long dirt driveway to the main dirt road. I ran back to the tack room, grabbed a halter,discovered the other halters were missing, grabbed two lead ropes and a bucket with a scoop of grain inside. Now off to do some tracking.
          Where our driveway meets the main dirt road is a small grassy area (about 75 x 75) and both Thunder and Sunshine were eating in that area. I thought that I would get Thunder with the food, halter him, and Sunshine would follow. Right. Thunder ate all of the food and bolted as I tried to halter him. Did he bolt back toward the house? No, he decided to take off down the main dirt road with Sunshine hot on his heels. As they rounded a curve in the dirt road, both horses and an approaching minivan slammed on brakes. Horses turned around and headed back to the grassy area. The man in the van (whom I'd never seen before) jumped out of  his van to help. We chased the horses around the grassy area for a while and watched them dart back out to the dirt road and race down the road in the other direction (toward the paved road).
          I jumped in the man's minivan and we followed the hoof prints to a grassy pasture area near the end of the dirt road and just before the paved road. We chased them around this pasture for a bit and then decided to go get more food from my tack room. This poor man took me back to the house where I grabbed more grain in the bucket, and we returned to the other pasture again. We chased them around the pasture for a bit more until Thunder decided the sound of grain shaking in the bucket was better than the grass. As he put his head down for food and I slipped the lead rope around his neck, he turns on dime and takes off, but Sunshine had to come and get a bit of grain. She allowed me to quickly halter her. Thunder could not stand seeing Sunshine eating grain, so he came closer to the food and I managed to throw a lead line around his neck.
          Thanking the man profusely, I send him on his way as he was on his way back to work after lunch when the horses encountered his minivan. I started the long walk back to the stable, leading two very unhappy horses. Believe me, I was unhappier than the horses were. By the time I got them back to the stable and safely put away, it was almost 2:45, I was out of breath, filthy dirty and sweaty, and wondered if I were having a heat stroke.
          I made it into the house and actually had time to catch my breath and drink and drink and drink, and when I glanced at the clock, it was almost 3:20. Time to go halter the three horses for the farrier. Haley walked up to me immediately to be haltered. (Perfect horse). She was so sweaty after charging around the paddock while I was out "playing" with the other two horses, I began grooming her. After about 30 minutes of brushing her coat, the farrier arrived. He took Haley from me, and she behaved perfectly. She was as quiet and still as she could be.
           Thunder was haltered and I handed him off to the farrier and returned Haley to the paddock. Did Thunder stand quietly and still? No. He spent his time winding himself around a tree while having his hooves done and being a very difficult horse. Thunder even managed to get a quick kick in at the farrier. Finally, the farrier handed me Thunder and I handed him a haltered Sunshine. Did Sunshine stand quietly and still? No, far from it. She spent her time rearing every time the farrier tried to lift a foot. After about ten minutes of that, we had to use a chain in her mouth to keep her quiet. She settled down and spent the rest of the time messing with the chain while I held her and he managed to do her feet.
          So much for taking it easy today! It is 9:19 right now, and I am finally going to get into a nice hot bathtub because I know the muscles will be even sorer tomorrow. I know I will sleep well tonight. Plans often have a way of changing when we least expect it. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thoughts to Ponder

While doing some research today, I ran across an article by Leslie Cain detailing her thoughts on what it takes to be happy in a marriage or relationship. At first I thought her answer was too simplistic, but the more I tried to refute her statements, the more I had to agree with her. If you feel uniquely loved, appreciated, heard and respected, and understood in a relationship, then everything else is covered.

Look at any of the myriad of reasons given for relationship and marital failures:
  • Lack of trust (cheating, lying, jealousy) 
  • Lack of communication (not spending time with each other, avoidance issues, money issues)
  • Lack of Affection (little sex, attention)

      The list could go on and on, but the point is that if both parties feel loved, appreciated, heard, respected, and understood, these reasons go away. Makes one think.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Comfort in the Morning Horse Feeding

There is a fulfilling comfort in the routine of feeding the horses. Each morning I let the horses out to do some quick munching on grass while I prepare their food. While they are trotting to the pasture, I can check for any injuries or problems. It's so much easier this way than having three horse sticking their heads in the feed room telling me to hurry up! I now shut the paddock gate and start refilling their water supply. I am constantly amazed at how much a horse can consume in any given day. With summer coming up, the water will need to refilled several times a day. Now that the horses are happily occupied, I go to each stall, give it a quick visual check for broken boards, exposed boards, etc., and gather up each feed bucket.Now I can saunter over to the feed room, line up the buckets, and methodically drop two scoops of pellets in each bucket.  All three buckets are returned to the stalls where they belong, the water is turned off, and the paddock gate opened. I call Haley (pictured above) and stand back while three horses gallop back to the barn for food! I tend to leave the gate open so that they can let themselves back out to the pasture.Through this whole routine, the horses can be seen if I raise my head and look for them.

I find myself looking at these three great beasts and wondering at how lucky I am to still have horses in my life. It is so quiet this early in the morning except for the horses, birds, and wind blowing in the trees. Life is good.

Thunder and Sunshine

Friday, April 16, 2010

Random Architectural Views

These are just a few pictures of architectural details that I have photographed at various times. All were appealing for one reason or another. The photo on the left was taken at the ruins of Brick House Plantation on Edisto Island, SC. The bottom part of the photo is part of the house's foundation.
This circular stair was discovered at La Sainte Chapelle in Paris. If you look down the center of the stairwell it appears to go on forever.
Part of the foundation of El Dorado Plantation near McClellanville, SC.

Old stairs leading to the second floor of a Huguenot refugee's house in London. Note the wear on the stairs. How many feet have passed over these stairs?
Tower of London

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Truck, a Few Deer, and a Horse

Does anyone care to identify the make, model, and year of this vehicle for me? Who left it here? How long ago did they abandon this truck?  She (yes, I call all cars "shes") is sitting just off an old abandoned road on the  property and I've enjoyed seeing her for a number of years now. Some might say that she should be hauled off, but I think she adds to the scenery. She has been here much longer than I have and could perhaps be called another ghost of the property. The woods and swamp appear to have accepted her, and who am I to change that? I was riding Haley along the abandoned road one afternoon when she came to a dead stop. I
 looked on the ground for a snake or something else that might have disturbed her, could not find anything, and decided to make her continue. I looked up and spied a momma deer with two of her offspring grazing right by this truck. Haley and I sat and watched them for about five minutes or so until they startled and ran off. Haley had not moved a muscle until that point, but when they moved on, she promptly continued her walk down the road!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thunder and Lightning

One year while we were staying on Pawleys Island, one of the typical summer thunder storms came up in the afternoon. I grabbed the camera, went out on the dock, and took some pictures of the storm. There were two  photographs that I really liked. Looking straight out from the dock and toward the ocean, you can see the heavy thunder clouds as they pass by just off the coast.

I turned to my left to look up the beach and captured this shot. If I had been trying to get this shot, it never would have happened! Nature is beautiful even when she is quite destructive.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oak Trees and Spirits

This oak tree is on the side of the old dirt road on the property. Oak trees are so majestic, and I often wonder about the stories they would tell if they could only speak. Or do they speak? My mind certainly weaves tales of what the oak has witnessed. This property was once part of a Legare family plantation. The house seen in the background was a sharecropper's cabin after 1865. We use it now for storage, but what was its purpose before the war ended? Was this oak tree part of that setting? How many hurricanes has the oak experienced? The huge knots that have been left behind by decayed or ravished branches and the large exposed roots on the ground beneath make me believe that the oak has been here for quite some time and is older than its trunk size reveals. Did people of other times sit beneath its limbs and wonder exactly what I am wondering now?
                 There are presences on this land. There are no evil feelings here, only good. It is as if these spirits realize that we love the land as much as they must have. I have felt them while walking in the woods, in the cabin, and by the barn. An elderly gentleman rocks in his chair in the upstairs of the cabin seen here. I have heard him rocking and after questioning the prior owners, I believe he is their grandfather who was born, lived, and died on this property and in this house. If this tree could only speak to me...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Escapees in the Night

Last night at about 1:30, the dogs woke me from a very deep sleep. John was peering out the window and having no luck in quieting the dogs. Then I heard him say those dreaded words: I think the horses got out. Okay...contacts are thrown into the eyes, a sweater thrown over the t-shirt that I sleep in, and out the door with bare legs and bare feet. It is still very chilly here at night! Haley (not pictured) was quickly returned to her stall, but these two beasties (Thunder on the left, Sunshine on the right) were too busy munching on rye grass in the side yard and took more persuasion. Everyone was returned to the barn relatively quickly though with only one accident: Haley managed to find time to kick John, but he is okay. Ah, the grass is always greener on the other side and fresh grass is much better than hay

Friday, April 9, 2010

Southern Dewberry

The Southern Dewberries have started blooming, but it seems to me that they are later than they were last year. Though the blooms are pretty, they are prickly. The little dewberries usually show up about a month after the flowers, and the berries are edible though I've never tried them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Spring is definitely here...the Marsh Ferns and Southern Lady Ferns at the edge of the swamp are making their appearance. Soon the water will not be able to be seen from the house because the ferns will have taken over. The swamp will appear to be non-existent except for the sounds of wildlife, the hum of mosquitoes, and the roar of the frogs. I love the ferns, but I will dearly miss the austerity of the swamp's winter clothes.