rabbit for lunch
I was outside feeling the sun on my back and watching Jasper watching me from his stall. "Do you want some sweat on your shoulder?!" I yelled out, and his ears perked up at my call. I headed down to the barn and grabbed his halter and lead line. I struggled to control him, frantic with the pent-up anxiety of a stalled, barely trained pony. He shot out into the field and lifted his head and tail in a triumphant kind of trot you usually see those high-headed standard bred Amish horses doing as they rocket down the roads. I like seeing that kind of relief, in any animal. The joy of no confinement. He ran around in the melting snow and kicked and farted and had a fine time. I turned around and set to stacking wood into the empty spaces under the side porch.
I stacked and split wood until the side porch looked respectable enough, a pile of dry wood and locust rounds, and space on the far end for a couple or three bales of hay to save me the trip to the barn for the sheep. I hate to sound proud, but that work looked right pretty. All that warmth for cold nights, all that green hay waiting for the rumen, a summer stored up in a couple pieces of twine. I love baling twine, I really do. People look at it wrapped around fence posts and scattered around the beds of pickup trucks and forget that it is a time machine's containment unit. You release the last summer when you set it free.
I set to mucking his stall, hauling him fresh water and loading up his hay bag. I checked his electric fence (sound) and made sure his salt lick was holding up. I did right by the beast. As I moved out barrows of slop and set down some clean bedding I thought about how much I have been writing about Merlin, the magic of him. The excitement of a horse I can finally ride, drive, and learn from. Merlin will be an amazing animal and a sign of growth for me in this life, but as much as I look forward to owning that horse someday, Jasper is my horse right now. He doesn't care about romance or possible roommates, he cares about running up a sweat in the pasture, clean water, good hay and little trouble if he can find a way to cause it.
Rabbits got fed, bottles hauled inside to defrost. The barn got tidied up and the sheep fed. I walked Jasper back to his stall, removed his halter, and hung the black halter and orange lead rope on his pegs inside the barn. I smile and think of the work to get ready for him, the help of Brett and others. I watch him settle in and feel full of good things. His current comfort was a direct result of my previous discomfort. So goes the whole damn world. I smile even wider.
I was about to turn in when I saw my recent hay delivery coming up from Karen Whitman. I forgot she was coming! She drove her blue GMC and helped me unload 20 new green bales. It took a while to haul them all off the truck and then into the barn, but by this time I was beat. I was ready to come inside to a glass of hard cider and a documentary on the iMac and let the days work set in.
So I am inside now. The cider is poured and the stoves are lit and I have a pot of soup or chili waiting for me for dinner. I spent this day sharing coffee with a great new friend. I spent my morning harnessing a draft horse, spending some times on a country road with the lines in my hands as cars passed us and I felt like they were on mopeds and I was in a Rolls Royce. How rich I felt! I ate rabbit for lunch. Every home I went into was heated by wood stoves and surrounded my land and animals. My body aches a little from the work, and my mind is still thumping with ideas for stories and writing and tonight I am just so damn happy I turned around the corners and switchbacks that lead me here. Lead me to this farm on a mountainside with a naughty pony, friends who know what hames and eveners are, and cold cider in a glass pressed with friends a few months prior during that Holy time all the regular people call October and I call Everything.
I'm not sharing this to boast, but to remain a little incredulous that the gal writing you this used to sit in a city apartment a few years ago fresh out of a state college without a single idea what was ahead. I got a bad case of Barnheart (chronic) and now rabbit for lunch is as normal as soup in a can is for other folks. A few random choices like a move to Idaho, a chance meeting with a farming coworker, a book, a blog, and now I am so excited about next weekend I feel like a child before her birthday. I am going to pick up that amazing horse and come hell or high water find a way to make him mine, find a way to house him, find a way to make him work. A blog reader and fellow horse girl emailed me to say horses were all about passion, not logic. I loved her for it. I got passion out the yinyang. I can turn it into a horse because I am too damn stubborn not too.
Crows are flying today. I'm a happy woman.