Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blue Collar Blessings

When we lived in New Zealand, we didn't use the term 'blue collar.' The rural society we traveled in had more of an Us (the landed gentry) and Them (those who made it possible for them to be gentry) classification. I guess as farm managers we were one of Them, and I'll confess it chafed a bit.

Over here, being blue collar is just fine. Maybe its the laid back way of the west, but it sure doesn't matter if you go to the grocery store in grubby work clothes. Here, we stare if someone wears a suit or heels (unless it's Sunday, a wedding or a funeral.)

I like the fact that we work hard and honest and go to bed knowing we made a difference. If we weren't on the job, the animals would go hungry, the grass would shrivel up and the fences would remain unmended.

But what does this have to do with the handsome animal at the top of this post? Well, he's my latest blue collar blessing. For many years I've longed for a mule, and Danny came to me by the sweetest of serendipity's.

I accidently clicked onto one night (of course, it was bookmarked on my computer but I honestly wasn't going to look at mules that night.) But, since I was there I did end up looking at mules and Danny had just been listed. He's just the sort of mule I'd dreamed of,
well trained, experienced and personable. I'm looking forward to exploring our neck of Camp Sherman.

But back to the blue collar thing. Mules have always excelled at working, they get the job done without fuss, unless a fuss is called for, and they have a great capacity for fun and adventure.

I was riding with my friend the other day, who was on a high-class Friesian. Now don't get me wrong, Friesians are the most beautiful horses to look at, the're fun to ride and the ones I work with always smell good. Kind of like some people...

Danny is generally a sensible mule or has been so far in our short acquaintance. But that day he just couldn't cope with this fancy Friesian doing a dressage movement (the passage, for those of you who know dressage) in his peripheral vision. Every time the Friesian would passage, Danny would shot off to the right, as if trying to get some space between his blue collar self and this pretentious fancy-pants. It was somewhat funny, in hindsight, though it's not too funny to be on a mule who's unhappy.

Here's Danny, off to explore his new home.

Danny is now getting settled into the pasture at Camp Sherman. The horses he'll live with aren't fancy, but they're a bit shy of blue collar. More like what we'd call 'dole bludgers,' those who depend on welfare but don't do a lick of work.

Now the bludgers want to see what's around the corner.

Oops, Katie got left behind.

I suppose Danny will fall into that group as he moseys around the grass and trees, sniffing the air and drinking the pure water of the Metolius. But every now and again, he'll work for his dinner and we'll all go to bed happy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gremmy Godsiff, ace reporter

Don't know about the last part of my new title, but I sure relish the first bit. Being a Gremmy is just what I imagined it would be, and it just keeps getting better.

Back in my b.c. (before children) days, I mused that I'd really rather go straight to grandmother and skip all the mother part. I'm glad I'm not the master of my universe and that God has it organized so much better. I mean, how could I appreciate not having to change a dirty nappy if I'd never done it? But you know what I've discovered? Rowan smells just like his father did...

Alyssa and Rowan's visit, two whole weeks worth, was full of moments. Some were routine, some out of the ordinary, all special. It was nice to have them here long enough to discover a routine to the days, even though Rowan's main routine is to go out of it regularly!

But here's what we did, generally...

Because we were housesitting for the ranch owner, Goddy spent the nights at the big house. But he'd come up in the morning, fix a pot of tea and wait for Rowan to wake up. The he'd have playtime before heading out for his a.m. chores. I'd get up, have tea, play a bit more with Rowan, watch an episode of Backyardigans (my new favorite kids DVD), have breakfast then head down for my chores when Rowan went down for a nap.

He and Alyssa would toddle down when he awoke; well, he toddled, she walked. Max was with me most mornings, so he'd be racing around like an energizer bunny and make Murphy dizzy.

Rowan would do the rounds of the horses, throw rocks and dirt into the creek and then we'd head back to the house for afternoon adventures. We went to Camp Sherman a couple of times to check on the horses there, we went shopping and sometimes he napped and Alyssa and I did projects.

In the evenings after dinner, Goddy would go back to the big house and Alyssa and I watched our fill of Jane Austen and other assorted chick movies. Pretty sweet...

I haven't wiped the sticky fingerprints off the windows or coffee table yet. Some souveniers you just want to keep around.

Here are a few of my favorite pics of the time.
Max and Rowan, on a mission to somewhere.

Watching Gremmy at work in the barn.

Meeting Big Max, the Friesian. I like the eyes in this picture.

Taking a break before doing more work.

Helping Goddy take a toy to the young geldings.

At Camp Sherman, we met the horses then explored along the pasture.

This is Sophie, who belongs to my friend, Kathy.

It was a long walk to where we were going, so we rigged up a ride in the toboggan we tote the hay in.

Life in the big outdoors is more fun than boys should be allowed to have!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Still here...

Just so you know, I haven't been abducted by aliens.

My heart was gone for a couple of weeks, while Rowan (oh, and his sweet mom) were visiting, and I confess to taking lots of pictures and not getting any of them posted yet. Actually, Alyssa took lots of pictures on my camera, which is nearly the same only better because she takes way more than I do and therefore captures many more moments of cuteness.

I promise to do a Rowan post soon, and then a Danny-my-new-mule post. Really, I promise.