Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sam on the Ranch

Some of you have asked me, one way or another, how Sam has been doing at Cabbage Ranch.  It's been an adjustment to have him home with us instead of boarded about 8 miles away.  It's more work, especially for Cabbage (who does most of the horse chores while I commute) but also so comforting to have him at home.

Sam seems to like it here.  After all, we have two pretty girls in the pasture just across the fenceline.  Goldie and Cedar are his new girlfriends.

Obviously, that makes this gate his new hangout.  Hey, ladies.

Come here often?

The upshot of this situation is that Sam spends so much time ogling the mares, he sometimes doesn't even eat right away.

Sam?  Not eating?  *Gasp.*  That's how we know it's true love.

The girls, in turn, find him totally hot.  Despite his status as a gelding he's apparently enough of a stud that they've been flirting nonstop.

Which in turn makes him crazy.

And so he hangs out at the gate, tells them Goldie and Cedar they're pretty, and whispers sweet nothings in their long and hairy ears.  He motivates them to preen and posture, flirt and tease.  And so they tell him he's cool, and want him to be their boyfriend, and call for him when he's in the barn.

So... How's Sam?  He's great, man.  He's got two pretty girlfriends who hang on his every nicker. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Miss Pinkie

She's there.  Just past Annie, sitting on the rock and washed out in the dappled sunlight.

Closer still, and she comes into focus.

She's posing for the moment as a strange Andromeda.  Too sweet to appeal to a sea monster, instead she appeals to my baby.

Once, this was my doll.  After years spent dormant in a basement box, she has once again burst onto the scene as a cherished companion.  By some strange lapse of my memory I don't remember what I called her when I was small, but for this generation her name is Miss Pinkie.

A friend of mine saw Miss Pinkie, and was overtaken by a startled, faraway look.  She smiled with bright eyes and exclaimed "I had a doll like that!  I remember having one of her!"  It's funny how some memories from childhood are misty and soft, while others snap into focus in a split second.  She couldn't remember her doll's name, either, and agreed Miss Pinkie was fitting.

Sometime, years ago, Miss Pinkie's dress was torn.  Probably caught on a kitten's claw or a thistle burr, it's frayed but is holding steady.

Beep went through a phase when she liked to bite Miss Pinkie's hat ruffle and pull on it with her teeth.  So now, part of her little Betsy Ross-style hat is missing.  It doesn't seem to bother either of them, though. 

They hang out all the time.  Beep doesn't mind the frayed hat ruffle, Miss Pinkie isn't bothered by the baby's mullet.

When Beep is a little older, she'll be able to wear a sweet little pair of pink overalls with a miniature Miss Pinkie embroidered on the front.  My mom made them for me to match my favorite little pink friend.  I can't show them to you now, frankly, because they're in Beep's darkened room, and she is sleeping.

She's in her crib, snuggled under her blanket, with an arm thrown over Miss Pinkie.   

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Window Bale

This is what happens when horses play with their food.  

That hole in the middle of the round bale is juuuuuust about the size of a horse's head.  Depending on the care with which Sam and Junior proceed their gastonomical adventures, plus certain environmental factors such as moisture/wind/phase of the moon, and other sundry scientific things...

.... it may soon be a window in the rock bale. 

It reminds me of the mashed potatoes incident in Close Encounters.   

Coincidence?  Is Arizona's famous Window Rock their final objective? All I'm saying is, I may be a little freaked out.    

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tiny Visitor

Our home is made of native limestone, and I like the way it suits the landscape.  The trees and grasses, cactus and sky all seem to relate to it easily. 

Wood siding belongs where I grew up, in the woods and fields of Wisconsin.  Stucco makes sense in Colorado, where I moved as an adult and lived until I came here to be with Cabbage.  Here, it's all about the beautiful, flaky stone that makes up these hills.

Sometimes, the stone attracts a visitor who can't distinguish the house from the wilderness. 

There are times when the snail visitors gross me out.  I don't appreciate it when they attach themselves to the door, or hang overhead. 

But times like these, in the dreamy late afternoon sun, the occasional little shell creature just adds to the scenery.  And reminds me that we are all equal parts of the landscape.  Stone house, human, snail, oaks.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Any Given Sunday

Like most families, our weekends are crammed full of errands and chores.  I always go to bed late on Sundays tired and achy from doing too much.  I kinda dread Sunday nights.

But Sunday mornings are another story.  We feed horses, we feed ourselves, we stay in our pajamas a little longer than usual.  Sometimes I make pumpkin pancakes, sometimes we eat oatmeal.  A recent Sunday morning was a little extra special.  It was just Beep and me, because Cabbage was off hunting and doing man things. 

When he's off in his man-cave, partaking of extra testosterone, and submerging himself in the esoteric rituals of eating jerky and lying in wait, Beep and I have girl time.  

Of course, around here, girl time means there's fewer hands to do the work, but it's manageable on Sunday mornings.  On this Sunday we followed our favorite routines. 

I awoke early as usual, and watched vacuous television until the sky began to lighten.  I listened for my girl on the monitor and relished some lazy time.  When she began to stir I finally roused myself.  When she started talking about Annie, and milk, and asking for Sam and Tabor, I padded down the hall and lifted her warm, footie-pajama'd body from the crib for a snuggle on my left shoulder.  Beep wakes up slowly, like her mama.  

When she was fully awake, I got her dressed and we both put on shoes.  I warmed a tall mug of milk with cinnamon and agave, poured some into a sippy cup for her, and took the rest with me.  Out we went into the grey morning to take care of animals.

We go through a lot of deer corn these days, because *someone* insists on feeding the deer anytime she thinks of them.

I haltered Sam and we walked him to the tree to tie him for a few minutes while I cleaned his stall.

This is not a polo field and those are not divots and we are not cultured.  Something- either a raccoon or an armadillo- is digging up chunks of hardened mud in front of our barn.

Welcome to my life.

Naturally, Annie contributed to the mess by dragging out a piece of trash from somewhere.  Because we need help junking the place up.

With the stall cleaned and Junior's breakfast waiting for him, I gathered him from the pasture and put him in the stall. 

Then I put Sam's feed in the pasture and turned him out.  It's so nice to finally have my old friend out my back door.

We fed the mares.

Then we (I) became distracted by a sudden impulse to finish taking down the last of the Christmas decorations on the gate.

And finally, it was time for us to go inside and feed ourselves.  A few short minutes and we had scrambled eggs and english muffins.

After, it was on to laundry.

And so on.  Eventually, it was time for a morning nap.  That meant a clean diaper, a few sips of water, three books read, and a blessed snuggle in the small wooden rocker in a corner of Beep's room. 

I bury my nose in the nape of her small, silken neck and feel her fine hair move with my breath.  She leaves her cheek on my shoulder, pats my back with her little starfish hand.  She squiggles in, drawing her knees up, then thrusting her feet in a way that reminds me of her kicks in the womb.  I gather my baby closer, and rub her back in circles.  It is a singular moment with my child.     

It is any given Sunday.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's Pumelo Night!


However you spell it, you should eat one.  It's citrus-y, sweet, lightly grapefruit-ish.  More floral, less sharp. 

They're available in many grocery stores this time of year.

They're absurdly large.

Interest yourself in a thick and spongey peel that comes off in feathery chunks. 

So very pretty.

Peeled, the monstrosity is greatly reduced in size.

Split open, it's pure fruit jewelry.

It's pumelo night.

Beware the Yucca

All I'm saying is, don't get so wrapped up in taking a picture of a slightly imperfect grapefruit that you walk backwards into a yucca. 

(your right buttcheek will thank you)

(and so will your young Border Collie who will watch you and then do exactly the same thing)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Toddler Fuel

People often comment "Beep has so much energy.  She never stops, does she?"  I always smile and agree, but the truth is I don't see a whirling dervish of toddler mania.  I just see her.  My life has adjusted to her speed- which, granted, usually is nonstop- and I hardly notice anymore.  

But.  There are times when it strikes me.  A few nights ago she finished eating dinner first, and to bribe her to stay in her seat and give us a few more minutes, we resorted to the ultimate treat: M&Ms.  

What followed was a hilarious, chocolate-fueled montage of emotions at lightning speed, and I snapped pictures as fast as my camera would let me.  Look past the smeary, dirty face, and you'll see Beep, in all her glory, captured over just a minute or two.



I love that baby.