Monday, October 31, 2011

Another Summer Come and Gone

Well... Another summer has come and gone. Having no vehicle has been a bitch to put it bluntly. Got to ride Earl TWICE all year, and that's it. The good news is that both were very nice rides, lazy wanderings spent exploring the roads and trails around the farm.
I've uploaded pictures first, and will attempt to type around them. Hope it works!

This first picture was taken during our first ride of the year, and is a view of the road and property on either side during out wanderings. It's the same road the farm is located on. Since being moved over here in March, Earl has not once escaped and gone visiting! I take that as a huge approval on his part, he's content to have Steevie and a herd of cowgirls all to himself. I have a bunch of pictures of his "cowgirls" but they're still in the camera waiting for me to move them to the computer. One of these days...

This is a view of the barn on our way home. Come winter the horses and cows will  have access to it to get in out of the weather if they so choose. I already caught Earl in there once - very surprising considering he's never been inside a barn before. I'd hunted all over the farm for him and Steevie one day and couldn't find them. It was a hot day in July and I finally came to the conclusion that Uncle must have moved them, as there had been some talk of doing that. On my way back from the various fields (I searched them all!) I spotted a cow coming our of the barn and I wondered....
Sure enough, I look inside and there's Earl and Steevie enjoying the coolness of the barn. Earl's head popped up and he got this look onhis face that said BUSTED! and took off out of the barn before I could get a picture of my once wild Mustang enjoying the conforts of a domestic horse! Steevie was the smart one, she'd spotted the apples I had with me and came to me for one. I had to go back outside to give Earl one. He wouldn't go back in the barn while I was there! What a phoney he can be!

Steevie making sure I got the saddle on properly. I thought seriously about taking her along with us, but I had two issues. First, this is our first ride from this farm and I didn't know what we might run into and second, I had no idea how Steevie would behave while being ponied. I'm sure she's got experience with being ponied at the track, but that sort of ponying is entirely different from what I'd want to do, and with my arm strength not what it once was I was really, really leery of taking her alone so I didn't. She was upset at being left behind but got over it and was back in the pasture area behind the barn grazing without a care in the world when we returned from our ride.

 Next time I got out for a ride I took advantage having Steevie again hounding me to be included and saddled her to see how she would react, and I wormed her... see that little bit of yellow goop smeared on her mouth....
She was rather uncaring about being saddled after 6 years, and I got very optimistic feeling about actually riding her this year. I couldn't get the girth done up on her so trying to get on that day was out of the question. I got her a bigger girth, a nice thick wool felt one, on sale even, at Greenhawk and never got a chance to try it on her again all summer. I get a kick out of how my western saddle looks so tiny up there on her!

Later that same day Earl and I posed for a self-portrait after our ride. I'm very pleased with myself, I'm maybe getting better at this self portrait stuff! The bosal Earl is wearing is one I bought for him when he was a 2 yr old. The dog got at it and chewed one of the cheek pieces - they were made of rawhide. I got Ruth to fix it for me before I left Missouri. She couldn't replace the rawhide so added two leather cheekpieces instead. Not as fancy looking but at least I can use it now. Earl loves it! No chain under his chin and no bit in his mouth. He's a happy camper! BUT I wish the cheekpieces were just a little bit longer so the bosal could sit just a little bit lower on his face. So, I may still have to come up with another headstall to attach to it. This one has a lovely, rawhide trimmed browband under that forelock of Earl's.

The end of August I got to visit and Earl greets me without most of his mane. The dumb hillbilly was just getting a very respectable mane again and he goes and finds something to rub it off. The end of September he had parts of his hide also rubbed off on his shoulder, side and butt. I'd sure like to know what tree he's using so I can chop it down! Those pictures are still in the camera....

 They're both looking pretty fine weight wise for the end of summer. Earl, as usual, is fat and sassy and shining like a new penny. Steevie is fine, but I would like to see her carrying some extra weight going into winter, and she's not. I'm going to have the trailer moved over and parked by the barn so they can be grained every day over the coming winter. Steevie held up just fine last winter until we moved them and I could no longer get there every day to feed grain. She lost weight quickly right at the end of winter, but slapped it back on just as quickly. Still, I don't want to take any chances this year.

And, I'm ending this post on a sad note. My dad passed away October 2, 2011. Earl is named after him. They're both of the same mindset - Laidback, easy going and unflappable. Dad got a huge laugh out of me naming a horse after him and said "Thank you... I think" at the time. He was a great man with a horse and will be sorely missed.

Earl Gordon Butler. July 12, 1929 - October 2, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm Baaaack

Whew, made it back here. I haven't had internet access on my home computer for more than a year now and couldn't get into most of my online things that required a user id and password. I simply couldn't remember what I used! I had everything auto saved and my personal computer was the only way to get to whatever online. Dumb thing to do I guess. If this computer ever blew up I'd be so lost!

Ok, Earl and I are in Canada now. To be more specific we are in Orangeville, Ontario, where I grew up. Literally where I grew up! Up until very recently I lived with my cousin who has built himself a beautiful house at the back of the farm we spent our childhoods roaming (and finding trouble of course). I feel like I've come full circle in my life and it was just perfect ... until winter came.

OMG I miss Missouri! Earl was impressed with the snow for December. Make that part of December, then he got sick of it too I think. How else do I explain him "running away from home" at least once day? Or he's quite the social butterfly and wanted to meet everyone in the neighbourhood, which I think he did.. a mile or so in either direction! The snow was so deep that it covered the bottom strand of my electric fence, shorting the fence out. Earl, escape artist that he is caight on to this real quick and simply climbed out between the strands of rope. He didn't break anything, but did bend a couple of posts over and send a few of those yellow plastic insulators I use flying. He got grounded to a pen for the rest of the year... a week. Hehehe Some alterations were made to the fencing, we had a brief thaw and I was able to open up the pasture to them again.

So far this year he's only escaped once and that was just a few weeks ago. I think he was trying to follow me. He left his sweetheart behind, which is hard to believe as Earl loves his Steevie (registered name is Stevlyn). Yea, Earl has a girlfriend.

Stevlyn is a 2002 Thoroughbred mare and very classy compared to Hillbilly Earl. They make a lovely couple even tho she stands almost 2 hands taller than Earl. He looks like a fat lil Shetland pony beside her.

Steevie with Earl beside her.

Earl has again introduced kids to the wonderful world of horses, especially Mustangs since we've been here. My grandson thinks Earl is his best buddy and Earl agrees with him. Between the two of them I go through peppermints like crazy! Earl and Cal had several riding lessons this past summer and Cal even rode bareback. Pretty brave kid considering he's never been around horses until Gran showed up with Earl.

Being back in Canada has been an experience - a different experience. Thomas Wolfe said you can't go back home or something like that and I do believe he's right. I miss Missouri, the lack of snow, the hot summer days, and the people. They're laid back the way people here used to be. Orangeville has changed so much I feel like a total stranger. I couldn't believe what I was seeing as I drove into town last spring. It's grown so much, gotten so expensive and .... snotty. It's not the town I grew up in anymore, that's for sure. After all that trouble to get back "home" dare I say I dun like it here and want to go back to MO?