Friday, August 31, 2012

I Hope You Can Teach an Old Horse New Tricks

Well yesterday was Mosey's first experience at “working cattle”. I'd say on his first trip out he failed.
He made about a 50 out of 100. It was not pretty. It was not pleasant. It was not fun.

Mosey was already saddled and tied to the fence. He 'looked' pretty good.

First off, six other cowboys, their horses, their barking cow dogs and their rattling trailers showed up, a very typical start to a day of working cattle. Little did I know that this was the beginning of Mosey's first day of inappropriate, lousy, never before seen behavior.

After everyone mounted up, dogs barking and underfoot, we headed out to gather the cattle through the alley of the barn and down the lane. Mosey and I were in back with two other cowboys. One of our ranch horses was lame this morning and was not being ridden and he was in the horse pasture running, thrashing, and trampling through the brush at a high rate of speed and making a terrible racket right next to where we were riding. Mosey was “freaking” out. He was spinning and turning his head in a circle like on the “Exorcist”! I thought, “oh my here we go”. I was right. He was rearing, stomping and just generally throwing a “wall eyed fit” and was just this side of unrideable. I had anticipated he would be nervous, but I had NEVER seen him like this. I had never ridden him like this. I have to admit there was fear in my bones. This horse is big and powerful. If he wanted to throw me he could, without a doubt and in a heartbeat. Guess he didn't want to and I was determine to ride him through it, to the pasture, to gather the cattle and and back to the barn with the rest of the cowboys. And I did. It was by far the worst ride I have ever had on this horse, not any horse, but this one. He pranced and spun and could not stand still. He held his head up and gawked like an idiot. He was...unpleasant...embarrassing.. exhausting.. ”rookieish”... ridiculous!

He finally settled down a little as we got closer to the house. I was able to 'walk' him back and forth behind the cattle, driving them back to the barn. He was decently pleasant for that part of the trip. This was his one right thing for the day.

When we got back to the pens with the cattle I tied him to the fence. He spun and pawed and paced and sweated like never before, for almost two hours. His behavior was unbelievable.

Part of his problem was I had tied him away from everyone, from the action. He could barely see it and could clearly hear it, but was not close enough to be comfortable. That's just part of it. You're tied where your tied and that's just it, like it or not. No other tied horses were spinning and pawing. About an hour into the work the cowboys took a water break and I walked around the pens and over to him. He stopped in his tracks and nickered at me...he was thinking 'thank God, finally a familiar face'. I didn't even speak to him I just slipped back behind some posts where he couldn't see me and videoed his insane activity. It was awful. Could this really be MY horse?

I'm the official cattle work photographer so my job it to sit high enough on the pipe pens to get some good photos. I think I was successful at that.

I sat high enough that I had a good view of his consistent, never ending terrible behavior.

When they were finished working the cattle and the last photo was taken, I walked over to him. He was sweating like I'd never seen him, dripping, shiny, sopping wet! Nasty. 

I walked him into the barn, tightened his saddle and got back on. I rode him around a while as they finished things up in the pens before loading the cattle onto trailers to take them to town to the auction. Several of the cowboys and I then “pushed” the remaining cattle that were to go back to the pastures, out of the pens, up the lane and into the field where they were to go. Then we rode back to the barn. He did all that without a bobble. He was worn out. Well I say that knowing he probably had a bunch more spins in him if I tied him back up under those same conditions again. I didn't. I figured he'd had enough for one day. I unsaddled him, gave him a big drink and put him back out with that one remaining lame horse where he immediately calmed down and began to eat.

Mosey is 13. He needs a lot of wet blankets and a lot of action around him and a lot of cattle work under his belt before he will be comfortable with all this. It was all new to him. Our leisurely rides in the cotton field had not prepared him for this. I hope however, with time, this horse will learn the tricks of cattle working, of being calm in a storm, and being pleasant to ride under any conditions. I am hopeful.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. Hebrews 11:1

Encourage One Another...continuing the journey on fresh paths.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

You're Not in Mayberry

My daughter and I were shopping last week, early in my first days here.  I said, “well, the neighbors haven't been over yet. I thought they would have come by by now. Maybe even bring something like cookies”. Jo said “Mom. You're not in Mayberry. Your landlord didn't run into the neighbors at the post office and say 'oh, by the way, Robin moved into the house beside you. You remember her? She lived here several years ago.' That didn't happen, mom. They are NOT coming”.

I thought “how sad.”  I believe if I had new neighbors, especially in the country, I would go over and introduce myself. I would take them some cookies. I'd introduce them to Ikey and say “your dog has been over to visit us on occasion already”. I'd say “It is so peaceful out here. I love sitting out on my front porch. Come over in the evenings if you'd like.” I would say “If you need anything, let me know; here's my number”. And then I'd say “It's nice to have you here in the neighborhood.”
Even if it isn't Mayberry.


“It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So, let's make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we're together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?

Won't you please,
Won't you please?
Please won't you be my neighbor?” 
 Fred Rogers

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” 
 Fred Rogers

Encourage One Another ... continuing the journey on fresh paths.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our First Visitor

We are getting settled in, Ikey and I. We love the porch. Ikey spent numerous times yesterday and today lounging around out there with and without me. Last night we sat outside together until it got dark. The breeze was blowing just enough to make it cool. No really, mid August and the night air in south central Texas was cool. I think I could have slept out there. We were reclining in the double rocker, which I love. Oh, so nice.

This morning I woke up around 6:30am. I was watching for the sunrise that comes right in my window. Guess I dozed off as it seemed a bit overcast. As it was, I did not see the sun rise but we got up about 7. I made some tea and took that, my smoothie and a left over wheat roll out onto the porch to enjoy the morning. It was absolutely fabulous. The breeze came up shortly after we sat down. I had a hard time wanting to go back inside to unpack. As we sat there I thought about the fact that of all the time we had been outside in the last 4 days I had seen no wildlife, only birds and bugs. There are these huge grasshopper things that I just have to smash as they will destroy my plants. Ikey stalks them and finds them and I swat them with the flyswatter. There are also big yellow and black spiders that I don't kill, just mess up their webs and knock them down off the porch. I don't think they even bite, they just attach to everything. 

So anyway, this morning we were sitting there all peaceful like, really enjoying our morning when I see this little flash go by toward the house. I look over the ledge. Unfortunately, the first visitor to our new home is a RAT! Yikes, eeeeekkkk!!!

Genesis 1:24
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.

He's checking things out around the porch. I stand on the porch as I swat at him with the fly swatter to no avail. I'm not planning to get too close. He runs to the other side of the porch. I swat some more and he comes back to the original side. He crawls under one of my pots. I'm thinking “you cannot stay way”. I look for a stick or a broom handle or a shovel or something, but find nothing. So I go inside and get my watering can full of water. I pour water under the pot so he gets on him and he runs out again, all crazy and I water him as much as I can with him running wildly about but instead of running back where he came from he runs back under the pot. I go inside and get more water. Rats HATE water I found out. I wish I'd hat the water hose. With more watering he finally runs back out into the yard. I run in the house to get my rat shot pistol, but when I return, he has run off into the yard thank goodness. I was grateful of that as all that was in the gun was 22 bullets, no rat shot. This time he was saved. Rat shot shells are on my Walmart list. If he or any of his buddies return I will not hesitate to shoot. I will shoot any vermin that will tear up, get into things, smell bad, or bring lice, ticks and fleas in here. It's either me or them, and let me tell you, it's not going to be me.  There'll be no sissies living out here in the country; gotta cowgirl up; gotta be brave and courageous!

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I have spent two days unpacking boxes. So far there are 31 boxes broken down on the front porch and three huge bags of wadded up newsprint. I have no idea how many total boxes were packed, but it was a bunch. I'm still missing a few things in the kitchen so there must be at least one more box some place. I got most of the buffet and dining room done, although there may be a box missing there too. I got my TV set up so I can play DVDs on it since I still do not have Internet or Satellite TV.  I'm beginning to like days without TV but I don't think I'm tough enough to go without forever!

So tonight Ikey and I sat back on the porch. My gosh it is so peaceful and quiet. The landowner's cattle were grazing in the front pasture. My guard dog was keeping a high alert to be sure they did not come near his home. I think the stars are going to be awesome out here.

Well, there's lots to report about the move including move out day, move in day, cemetery day, and lots of photos to share. So I'll get to those as the days go by, but likely they'll be out of order. So stay tuned as we chronicle the “days of our lives”.

Encourage One Another...continuing the journey on fresh paths.

(PS) This is posted from our new WiFi hang out...McDonalds in Gonzales!  Thanks Micky D

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Shadow Over Moving Day

9:00am.  Moving day. The movers are late. Any other day it would not matter. But today I'm in a hurry.  Today, moving day, is overshadowed, as today is also the day of the memorial of my beloved son in law's brother who died Thursday ,a sad, tragic death. Ross' soul and his spirit and his heart were so sad. Sometimes people are just born that way or sometimes they develop that way. I don't think anyone is really sure why. But it is so hard for them to live life in this world. They search and seek happiness and relief from that pain the feel emotionally, and find it impossible to live life on this earth. Few people know this feeling. Few people understand it.  Most often they are unable to find it, that peace. Finally they give up, they surrender, they make a choice to not do it anymore, and they leave this world. Ross chose this last Tuesday.  Ross, may you be at peace now and rest in the arms of Jesus.   Today, and this week, my heart breaks for those hearts already broken, those that loved him for years and lost him this week. And Lord I pray you hold them close, comfort them as only you can. Only you Lord! May they reach for you, feel you, and accept you reaching back.  


John 14:26-27

New International Version (NIV)
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Encourage One Another

Continuing the journey, on fresh paths.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One Day and Counting

Exodus 13:21
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

Checking off my list while I'm making more lists in my head.  Running to do something as I see something else that needs doing.  Packing this and packing that, returning this and returning that.  Moving it's just hard.
Today is the last day in the house; tonight is my last dinner w/ my friends group; tonight is our last night to sleep here; tomorrow they pack and load.
I am still.....Continuing my journey on fresh paths.

Encourage One Another

Covered in Cotton

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Genesis 1:11
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

The cotton field has been a good place for riding.  Being able to soak Mosey's feet as we plodded along in the mud has been good for them.  Mosey being able to get a cool fresh drink on occasion was been relaxing.  Him being able to play in the water sprinklers was always fun. Stopping and letting him eat some grass right in middle of the field, when there was not cotton and it was the only grass around, was nutritional for Mosey and peaceful for me. Watching the cotton crop start from a little seedling, to the full grown plant, to the purple bud, to the yellow flower, to the boll, to the open cotton seed filled with white cotton, to stripping it and making into giant cotton bales has been a real education for me.  I never thought a field of cotton would have such pleasant memories and fond occasions to reflect on.  But you can read back on my blog and see it.  You can see the photos on my computer.  So today, one more time, we surrounded ourselves with tall green blooming cotton, drank from the pooling water, played in the water sprinkler and walked one more time through the cotton field as we said good bye to west Texas.

"Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten,
Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land!"

Happy Trails as you Encourage One Another

And Continue the journey on fresh paths.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dances With Coyotes

Well, not exactly dances, but ambles, strolls, moseys, meanders with a coyote.  Saturday, one of my last two rides in west Texas, was not without an adventure.
I saddled up as usual and as I was just starting out I could see something moving along in the recently plowed field across the street where I often ride.  I decided to go that way to see if I could determine what it was.  It would walk a few feet, head down, stop, sniff, then keep on moving.  It was so slow and even paced it didn't look like a coyote.  They are lanky and bouncy in there movement.  He looked our way however, that did not change his course or his speed.  Eventually we were walking parallel with him and he began to look more like a coyote, he just didn't act like one.  He was probably 100 yards north of us.  When I stopped to try to take a few photos, he looked our way again, but just kept ambling along, in no hurry and in no fear.  This is extremely unusual for a coyote.  At one point he did crouch to the ground to watch us for a minute.  But he didn't stay that way.  He just got up and moved on.
He eventually crossed in front of us, still strolling, still sniffing as he went.

We just kept walking too.  As I got closer, he never ran.  Coyotes always run.  They never let you get close.  They are very skittish animals.  But not this one.  As we proceeded north, we crossed the path he had been on and a little bit further we turned back to the east, the same way he was traveling.  Again we were parallel.  I was able to get several more photos.

It was just the unusual calmness, the lack of fear about this guy that really had my attention.  He knew we were there.  He didn't care.  I think he could sense we meant no harm and that we too were just hanging out, cruising along at a slow rate of speed just catching a few rays and watching for cool stuff.

No, we didn't actually dance with the coyote, but we shared the trail with him...and that made for a very special next to the last ride.

Genesis 1:25
God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Encourage One Another

Continuing the journey on fresh paths.