MY KIDS ARE DRIVING ME NUTS. Today is Caitlin's first day of Christmas break, and they've already been in trouble most of the day. From spilled Chex mix in the living room, to pillows strewn on the floor (let's see now, for the FIFTH time), 3 crying spells because somebody played too rough, and a potty accident . . .I'm ready for a dose of peace.
It's snowing like crazy, and the wind is howling. So where do I go? To the barn and coop, of course. My lovely horses have turned the area around the feeder into a muddy bog, but at least I have wellies and warm socks. Snuggling with my ladies (somehow they seem to know when I need them most, and let me hang all over them) always makes me feel better. Few things lift the spirit like warm horse breath in your ear.
Of course, it's not always that lovely. About a month ago, we were getting ready to go in for parent/teacher conferences. Just as I was heading out the door to take the kids to our wonderful neighbors (Barb and Ralph--you'll hear more about them too!), I saw Aurora with her head under the fence. I went out to shoo her back in, and she stood up. So did the fence. I went to get a halter and leadrope. As soon as she saw them, she took off running. ARGH. So, not only are we going to be late to conference, I'm gonna have to catch a black horse at dusk. FUN CITY. I shoved the halter at Scott (thank GOD for him!) and told him to try to keep her in sight. Then I went back to the barn to grab a bucket of oats, back to the house to find some way to contact the teacher, and back down to the pen to make sure Aces was still in and wouldn't get out during the shenanigans.
Luckily, Barb had seen Aces tearing by on the road. She hollered to Ralph (who I sometimes refer to as Saint Ralph) who promptly fired up his Rhino and pursued my errant mare. By the time I walked my sorry self over the railroad tracks, Scott was nowhere to be seen, and it was getting dark. Suddenly, I see headlights weaving erratically over a field (from a mile away). Sure enough, it was Ralph, herding Aurora across the field. I beg the pardon of the farmer that owns it, but I don't think we tore it up that bad. As soon as she was close enough to hear the oats rattling, she came right over. Since Scott had the halter, I ended up leading her home with the oats. Every now and then, Ralph got a little close with the Rhino and she'd startle (and my thoughts are "pleasedon'tboltpleasedon'tboltbecauseyou'rebehindmeandIdon'twannagettrampled!) but we ended up coming back to the barn, got her in the fence (good thing we have a good gate setup that I could close Aces off with but still leave open for Aurora!) and heaved a sigh of relief, because Scott had made it home too.
And here's a testament to good neighbors. If it wouldn't have been for Ralph, I don't know if I would have ever seen her again. If it weren't for Barb coming over and snagging the kids, lord only knows what they would have gotten up to. We were an hour late to conferences, but we made it, thanks to our awesome neighbors. As I was falling all over myself thanking them (and even bought Ralph a case of his favorite brew), he said "aw hell, that's the most fun I've had all month!" Can't beat that with a stick now, can ya?
So then to the coop. Ah, the chicken opera. Watching who's boss and who's not, hearing the hens' soft clucking (and Cow's obnoxious crow). Finding a fresh egg that's still warm--and on a day like this, that's even more awesome than ever. Beautiful Sweet peeps by my feet, and Jack the Cat-ken is purring and rubbing my ankles. There's Good Queen Bess, finding the last of the fresh greens I picked for them from the hoophouse this morning. Stewie chuckles at me, doing his odd head bob (think blonde "I dunno"). Trouble's hiding out behind the roosts--good on him for turning that litter for me.
The laundry is in, now I can sit and knit with my dogs and cats indoors. Indeed, peace on earth and goodwill towards critters.