WildFire is NOT happy with Hector the Mule. So I created a small paddock for Hecter. He can see the mares and they can “chat” across the fence. But he is safely out of range of teeth and hooves. He also has his very own run in shed and hay bale! Hopefully, after a couple of weeks, this Bratty Boss Mare will let Hector join her herd.
We have a new family member, Hector the Mule! He is such a sweet boy who has been a hard working mule for many, many, many years. Now, it is his turn to relax and enjoy love and treats. My red mares are NOT thrilled with Hector, but hopefully, everyone will settle in soon. I have never had a mule before, so I welcome any helpful advice.
Recently, an acquaintance paid a brief visit to my home. Upon entering, the guest looked about and “smirked”. Yeah, I will call it a smirk. I have visited this person’s home and it is quite stylish, very formal and tidy.
OK, being completely honest – I am NOT the world’s best housekeeper. I am NOT the worst either. My house is a simple farm house, no fancy furnishings or carpets. Everything is more “homey” and functional. Yes, there is a mule halter hanging on the closet door handle and I have a saddle in the guest room.
I keep up with the laundry. All dishes are washed and put away promptly and counter tops are cleaned. Beds are sort of made (dogs have a tendency to unmake them). I also sweep and mop at least four times a week. With windows open, my house is filled with good, clean country air – and dust and pollen. I need to dust and wash windows and put away some clutter – so yeah, my house looks “lived-in”.
I have a dog door, and two dogs – hairy, shedding dogs. So, there are little hair balls hiding under beds and chairs. On any given day, there are probably muddy little paw prints about as well.
So, the fact is – if you come to my house looking for dust and dirt and dog hair – you will find it. But, if you come to my house looking for hospitality, friendship, warmth, acceptance, and a hot meal – you will find that too. Visitors are welcome to put their feet up on the coffee table or grab a cozy blanket and snuggle up on the couch. I don’t freak out if a drink or a snack is spilled. In fact, dogs handle most spills rather quickly and efficiently. I invite visiting youngsters to pull out toys and rocking horses and crayons and books, spread them about the living room – and just play.
So, here is my question. What is more important, housekeeping or hospitality? Maybe it is just a personal preference, but I want people to “feel at home” in a cluttered, lived-in house with a few stray hair balls and muddy paw prints – oh, and some dust and dog snot on the windows.
Met a new friend scurrying down my drive way. Don’t worry. I gathered my little friend up and moved him to safety. As a child, I remember my Mom telling me these little Woolie worms could predict the severity of the weather based on their color. Can’t remember exactly, if it was black or orange that meant a bad winter. Maybe it is silly to stop my car to move a little fuzzy caterpillar, but – hey, GOD made caterpillars too – and besides, it is healing to stop and visit with nature for a little while. The grief is always with me, but moments like this strengthen me. Does anyone know what kind of little critter this is??
You ever have days you just can’t win? At the last minute, I needed to take my husband to the doctor. I had to call work and let them know I would be late. Then, I felt guilty about leaving my work team hanging – I am old-school dependable. I am ol’ reliable, at work 20 minutes early. But not today.
My husband kept apologizing for needing me to drive, no matter how much I assured him it was OK. “I love you. I want to drive you. We are a team.” Then I felt guilty for making him feel guilty.
When I got him back home safe and sound, I felt guilty that I had to make haste and rush out the door to work – no time to throw the ball for Charlie dog or rub a puppy belly. They both looked so sad!!
That is my vicious circle. When I am at home, I feel guilty for missing work. When I am at work (two jobs), I feel guilty for neglecting home and farm chores. When I carve out ME time to ride my red mare, I still criticize myself for the To Do List I haven’t finished and the floors I didn’t mop. Then, I work myself into a silly state and get in a huge hurry. What does that accomplish?
I hurried by the gas station and slammed my finger in the car door. How dumb was that? So now I feel guilty, hasty, and ouchy! Why do I do this to myself?
But, I am still going riding tomorrow!!
As I blogged in the past, there are many casualties of grief. Horseback riding was one – for me. In the last months, I have tried to get my saddle time. While it has been good to be back on a horse – we weren’t a team – not connecting. My mare would hollow out, jig, toss her head – not good. My ride last weekend jarred my back – and seriously had me thinking about giving it all away. I have been riding for nearly 50 years – I can’t quit like this.
So, I prayed. “God, please – I don’t know what to do. Help me. What is wrong with this hateful red, mare.”
The only word that kept popping in my thoughts – Listen
Well, God, I am listening – that’s why I am praying – tell me!!
OK, thanks to my loving Spirit Sister, we changed the tack – maybe the saddle was pinching?
Still, nagging voice – Listen.
This morning, after a sleepless night – I hauled my horse to the near by park. That voice was hounding me – Listen!!
AAARHHHGGH!! The anger, the frustration – what does that mean????
I just broke down, hanging on my horse’s neck – sobbing. I hugged her head and pleaded, “Tonka, I am so broken-hearted. Please, Tonka, I need you.”
This time, I understood the voice – Listen to the horse. I looked into her eyes and knew that I put too much in the saddle. I don’t mean just my extra chubby butt. I mean I took all my pain, grief, sadness, darkness, rage, and frustration riding with me – I piled all that onto Tonka’s back. As I clung to her neck, I asked her to forgive me. I promised her today, it would be just my chubby butt (again, I apologized for the chubby part). No more emotional junk. I felt her lean into me and sigh.
Today, was the best ride in 31 months! Today, Tonka and I connected. When a horse and rider connect, it is beautiful, powerful – it is spiritual.
I believe the Great Spirit blew HIS breath into the nostrils of the horse – he gave them life so they could held guide us. In the woods today, surrounded by creation and truly connected with my beloved mare – I know GOD was there and my prayers were heard. I am so thankful.
After a 3 hour ride, I smothered Tonka with kisses and scratches and stuffed her full of apples. She was so relaxed, I could feel her relief. Finally – I listened!!!
Bit of an odd topic for me – maybe the title should be “another bad idea”.
Let me explain, I am not a neat freak, my house is clean-ish. I try, truly I do. But farm chores come first. Of course, I vacuum and mop daily – I have a German Shepherd. Dishes and counter tops get the daily scrubbing – dust and clutter, I can overlook.
So I came up with a genius idea. I will put all my daily bathroom toiletries in this little basket. Everything will be nice and tidy versus sprawled all over the counter. Then, I simply pickup the basket to wipe down the vanity. Problem, when the age spot fade cream tube is the same color as the toothpaste tube – AAAAAHHH – I threw away my toothbrush and my breath is NOT minty fresh. Maybe the fade cream will remove coffee stains from my chompers??
OK, maybe I need to rethink my storage. But, this is not my worst idea – not by a long shot. There was the time I didn’t want to take time to go to the hair salon so I decided I could cut my own hair – how hard could it be?? That was my hat phase. Oh, then there was the time I super glued my bare foot to the floor – I may never live that one down.
I need more coffee.
In an effort to escape my dark, dark mood – I decided to work on acclimating my horses to their upcoming halloween costumes. OK, you may be able to guess the theme, but as you can see, Wildfire was not at all afraid of the sombrero. Horses and dogs and cat and goose, all make great therapist. The journey is still very hard, but they lift me up.
The upcoming solar eclipse is an exciting event – but I cannot help but worry about my horses and outdoor pets. Is that silly? Should I be concerned?
I can keep my house dogs in the house, I will just shut the dog door.
I think Gertie Goose is nearly blind already, so no worries for her. I think Flip Flop Kitty will be OK.
But what about my red mares? I know they are little stinkers, but they are my little stinkers and I love them.