Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Behold a Wet Horse

I was at my desk writing tonight, working on some new material and keeping an eye on my word count goal (500 words at a time between game breaks), when the sky tore open and it started into a hard rain. I said a very bad word, ran downstairs, through a light wool cloak around my body, and grabbed a lantern. I had a young turkey to save.

Whatever horrible creature devoured three turkeys and many, many chicks from my brooder has stopped visiting. A combination of a loud talk radio in the barn, all night lighting, and waving my fist at the sky has stopped this season's rampage on poultry. It is rare that I go a season without losing a bird (last year I think I only lost three or four?) but this year was bad. Every night the Antlerborns roost in the loft of the barn, safe as houses. Every night the pigs make a nest, the older hens sleep above the goats, and the rabbit hides. But without fail, those turkeys sleep right in the middle of the lawn.

I don't worry about the 30+ pound adult males, but the last little bourbon red poult is only around ten pounds and needs to be picked up and put in the barn every night. Usually my last set of night rounds means checking for horses...

I want you to know that at the point of that last ellipses I realized I had not checked on the horses at the last turkey rescue (Which I found and placed in the barn without a problem). So mid-typing I said another very bad word, put on a very wet wool cloak, and my rubber boots. I walked in the storm out the horses paddock. My light was one of my plug-in emergency flashlights, the kind you keep in a wall to charge. Well, I had used mine the night before and placed it on the windowsill instead of re-charing it and the light was fading fast. I looked, though. I really looked. Whenever the lightning lit the farm up I would scan for a black horse on a brown hill in a black world. Jasper stood out like a beacon, his coat now mostly white. I let out a half sigh, because my horses gang together. If one was in the paddock they probably both were. Why wouldn't they be in the paddock you ask? Good question!

My horses get to graze in open pasture and spend the night and non grazing days (when the pasture is regrouping and resting from horse and sheep munching). To let them into that pasture I take down the electric fencing and let them walk into the open, gated, area. Sometimes I get wrapped up in writing or chores and forget to turn the electric fence back on in the evening after they have returned to their water, shelter, and shade. Tonight I knew I was letting the solar charger charge, and had not turned it on. Which meant there was a chance my black horse walked out of the paddock and into the woods to eat delicious forbidden things.

So there I was, standing in the thunderstorm, with a dying flashlight, calling for Merlin. Jasper was beside me now and I tried to listen between thunder claps for Merlin, who might snort or stamp or lumber about. He wasn't in the pole barn. I couldn't see him anywhere. If he was in the woods it meant I would have to get grain, bribe him back, repair the fence he knocked down, and turn on the charger in a thunderstorm. At this point the fact I trapped a hawk out of the sky, brought him home, and taught him to follow me while we stalked rabbits seemed incredibly easy. The sky lit up again and still no black horse.

I was now soaking wet. I said many bad words. And in a moment of pure panic I yelled out in the storm, " Trobhad Thu Donnis Each Dubh! Tha e Fluich a noch!" Which roughly translates in Scotts to "COME HERE YOU BLACK DEMON HORSE!!!! IT'S WET TONIGHT!!!" And I said that as loud and forceful as you can imagine I did.

Silence. Just Jasper and me in the rain. I sulked and headed got get the grain bucket when I heard a snort of air and splash of hoof in mud.

I turned around the Merlin was right behind me. He was there the whole time.

I said another very bad word, and hugged the wet horse.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL!!! Thanks for the laugh to start my day. I'm sure Merlin was snickering the entire time he was behind you. He and Jasper had it all planned out. "Okay, you go right to her, and while she's going crazy looking for me I'll just sneak up behind her. Let's see how long it takes before she starts yelling in Gaelic."

And after you got them safely locked up and walked back to the house they did hoof bumps. "Excellent dude."

July 9, 2014 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger Ohiofarmgirl said...

ok i laughed a lot... i do that with the dogs some times. our Zander is very light of foot for such a big dog. and he always gives me that "i'm right here" look. ha!

sorry about your predator.. and yeah turkeys were born to die. we had to lock ours up tight. we finally trained them to come in. its a wonder that any poultry has survived across time.

July 9, 2014 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger fluffpuppet said...

Just finished your book and wanted to say that it was truely inspiring! Thanks for the good read and helpful pointers.

July 9, 2014 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Mary Wilson said...

When I was a kid, we had a pig who specialized in the "escape the pen, then stealthily follow whoever is wildly calling me" strategy.

I've been thinking about emergency preparedness since earlier post, and one thing I think about is flashlights. Might be an idea to have a solar battery recharger and a smaller flashlight that would fill in for a likely-larger plug-in model? We've got tiny LED flashlights that go for a good long while on a couple of batteries and are really bright. Of course if you're like me shooting out of the house at speed the chances of remembering the flashlight at all are slim!

July 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Maria Manemann said...

It is a simple delight to see a good writer make a moment of pure aggravation a pure joy to read. I need to go find your books and you need to go back to writing the next one.

July 9, 2014 at 9:31 PM  

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