May 31, 2011

Weekend Entertainments

Holiday's present complications for us in our work schedule, especially when we're not planning on taking off. You see, even though we plan to work through a holiday, most people go ahead and take off anyway! So getting loaded or unloaded can be complicated. Fortunately we have an amazing broker who thinks these things through, and usually when there's going to be a long weekend, he'll plan a load that goes past the house so we can camp out there instead of in a parking lot somewhere. Handy isnt' he?

We'd forgotten that this past weekend was even a holiday. Things like that slip by us so easily when every day is the same. So at first when we were told to load in Oregon on Thursday but that we couldn't deliver till Tuesday in Minnesota we were a little miffed, seeing as how we could have been there Friday morning! But then we remembered Memorial Day, and really to tell the truth, we weren't that upset at the prospect of a weekend off.

So Thursday morning we were sitting in Alicel, OR waiting to load sunflower seeds first thing.

Loaded up and heading north, within a few miles we were looking at a winter wonderland. They'd had snow again in the mountains between La Grande, Or and Walla Walla, WA.
It was pretty, but just felt wrong in late May. So when we crested the last hill and got a view of the Washington countryside below, it was easier to think about it being nearly summer.
Heading east from Walla Walla, after a little while we left the rolling hills, drove through Lewiston, ID, and entered the long stretch of winding road...
...that follows along the Clearwater River (which I might add isn't so clear these days, and is in fact quite muddy with all the run off from recent rains)...
...and dumps you out of the mountains and into Lolo, MT just south of Missoula. Its long and slow going, and a little stressful in icy winter, but I still love the drive along the Clearwater!

We were home a little after midnight Thursday. A night of rest, a shower at home, and we jumped back on the road to finish that leg of our journey towards the weekend. By lunch time Friday we were back in eastern Montana and getting closer to the ranch.
The waters had receded considerably, but it was still visibly soggy in many places, and though the Big Sky was blue, I was watching rain showers in every direction.

Our stay at the ranch was brief, just long enough to drop the trailer and eat a late lunch and visit. And then we were off again.

It was perfect timing to have a long weekend, because just a day or two before, we had finalized a purchase of a livestock trailer in Kansas and needed to go get it. It worked out perfectly! We were able to be in Kansas by Saturday morning, sign papers, hook up, and we were back at the ranch Sunday morning around 3:30am. And now we can haul my father-in-laws cows for him, and use it for jobs in the future. It was good to see our truck hooked up to a bull rack again! We always enjoyed that line of trucking.
After that point, work was over and the real weekend-ing began. It had turned off chilly and wet again, so things were pretty soggy. Our truck made a mess of the driveway...
...our feet sank a bit in many spots...
...and to Paris's great consternation, the grass was wet. To her grass is bad enough, but when its wet...well the princess's toes don't "do" wet grass.

Number one on my agenda, aside from some quality time with family, was spending a little time with the horses, and one horse in particular.

Sky, my paint colt, is just over one year old and still has never had a halter on! That is until this weekend.
Fortunately for me, he's just a super friendly horse with a super attitude. Given that and his overly curious nature, and it was almost easy to halter him. It took about an hour once I got ready to work on it. We had some visiting time first, and moved some panels to make a smaller pen to work in, during which he followed me around occasionally trying to grab the hood of my jacket. His curiosity has the potential to make him a pest. But when we got down to work, he'd actually stick his head in the halter when I held it out because he was so curious. The actual putting on and buckling took some manuevering on my part, but when we got to that part it was over fairly quickly and he stood there like he wasn't quite sure how that had happened to him. And then resumed his exploration of the pen, me, the bucket, my brushes, the lead rope, and on and on.

He's been hanging out with his Mom, something that will be changing soon, as her next foal is due within a few weeks and Sky hasn't been gelded yet. So he'll have to keep other company. But for the time being, Dawn was my somewhat reluctant assistant in getting Sky in from the pasture and keeping him from getting too wound up. She enjoyed the petting and a few cookies, but over all found the whole process rather dull. She napped through most of the morning while Sky and I got to know each other.
This was my first experience getting a halter on a colt without human assistance. I was dubious about how it was going to go, so when it took less than an hour and nothing was broken, and no one had been killed, I was rather pleased with myself. There's something to be said for having good horses with good dispositions, as opposed to the having pretty horses with bad attitudes. They tend to produce pretty colts with bad attitudes.

Anyway, halter on and in the barn to limit distractions, and Sky and I were making progress. He was still willing to stick close to me, despite the earlier insult, and he was more than willing to accept a cookie or two as an apology.

He spent a lot of time looking at me like I'd lost my mind to stick that thing on his head. And he wasn't too crazy about the lead rope putting pressure on him, but he only tugged back a little and then gave to gentle pressure and stepped towards whatever direction the pressure was coming from. He'll learn quickly I think, if he ever has the opportunity to.
I gave him a little time to try and figure out for himself that its not much use fighting the lead rope. He didn't like it and did quite a bit of leaning back against it in a tug of war with the post (obviously the post was going to win) but he never blew up over it, which I was pleased to see.

I love the markings on his nose. It looks like the black bled into the white like ink does when it gets wet on paper or fabric.
We worked together Sunday all morning, and then again on Monday afternoon, before I took Sky and Dawn back out to their pasture. I led Dawn and let Sky follow along, stopping at the house to have our pictures made and to smell the flowers my mother-in-law had planted.
Dawn was still rather bored with the whole thing, or perhaps its her pregnancy that's making her tired. She was patient with us though, tolerated our primping for the picture...

...and was fairly patient with Sky nipping her rear while we walked back out to the pasture gate, where last pets were exchanged and halters were removed. She only stepped in about 3 feet past the gate before she set in to grazing. Sky let me take off the halter, but like any kid he was eager to go out and play and didn't stick around for any lengthy farewell. He trotted on in a ways and watched the cows before settling in for some lunch.

His gray is starting to show through a bit more. I'm curious how long it will take for him to turn over completely. He'll be a handsome boy when he's gray and white, but I'm really liking the black and white stage too. And I think blue is going to be his signature color. What do you think?
The rest of the afternoon was spent doing laundry, visiting, and relaxing by the fire. It was so damp that it made the chilly air feel that much more chilly, so the fire was welcome and cozy. The girls spent a good deal of time laying on the floor in front of it. Malcolm's mom and I talked quilting, fabric, decorating, admired her new dishes, and watched Secretariat which she had bought months ago and had been saving to watch with me. I'm glad she did. It was a great movie, even for the non-horse nuts out there! I highly recommend it!

Malcolm and his dad worked on fixing some things out in the shop and enjoying each others company, and we all enjoyed lots of laughter and good converstation when we were all inside together.

We're back at work now. We left the ranch last night making tracks as we went...
and delivered in Breckenridge, MN this morning. Now we're reloaded and headed to southern Arkansas. Another round with the road, but hopefully we'll be back in a couple weeks to have a longer break and get some things done.

Hope you all had a really nice weekend and that the week to come is calm, peaceful, and enjoyable for us all! Lets all hope for some nice warm dry weather!!!


Valerie said...

Well, modify your weather wishes. We're having 95 degrees and no rain in sight for the better part of two weeks! Great post. His eyes are spectacular! Glad you had the time at the ranch.

Debbie @ Swampbilly Ranch said...

Sky is beautiful! I'm glad you guys got to spend sime time at home. It'sx always nice to touch home base and reenergize.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

I need to catch up on your blog! We have been so busy here the last 2 months, spring cleaning the whole place and a vacation. Now it's 10-12 hour days outside. I am exhausted tonight! I saw you left me a message. Email me at messickquarterhorses@yahoo.com or at either blog name @ yahoo.com

oh, and get that boy gelded and separated from mom! lol