Posts Tagged With: animals

Large Enthusiastic Dog Free to Home Without Bunnies. Or Books. Or Gloves.

Our two-year old Drahthaar, Winston, has finally outdone himself this time.  And that’s saying something.

Winston’s exploits are something of legend around our house and on this blog.  He is a digging, chewing, glove-swallowing fiend who has not only eaten most of the stuffing out of the couch that sits on our back porch, but chewed up countless toys, horse brushes and even horse blankets, along with anything else he can get his mouth on.

Yesterday he finally took it too far.

It started first thing in the morning.

Desperate Hubby is gone deer hunting at the moment, staying in a cozy motel in his own room, eating at a restaurant for every meal and probably having a really nice time.  I am home, wrangling the children, trying to negotiate morning and evening routines with enough flexibility yet structure to keep Batman, who desperately misses his daddy, on track and on task.

So yesterday we were finally all dressed, heading out the garage door for the short drive to school. Annabelle suddenly cocked her head like a dog and bolted for the sliding glass door to the back porch.  Then she started screaming.  At the top of her lungs.

I ran outside to see Winston in the frosty grass, Zach’s tiny black dwarf bunny Batman in his jaws. As soon as he saw me Winston had the good sense to drop Batman, who fell limply to the ground, and slink over to the far side of the yard.  Zach (I know, it’s confusing, having BOTH Zach and Batman in the same story, but bear with me) immediately ran over and tried to kick Winston with his black Nike school tennis shoes, but the dog dodged him.

Annabelle, in the mean time, had run to Batman the Bunny’s side and tried to pick her (I know, I didn’t choose the name) up.  Batman hopped across the yard to where I stood and I bent down and grabbed her.  As I did so I knew that despite her apparent mobility we probably had a serious problem here.

First of all, Batman the Bunny does not like humans and is very hard to catch, even in the 2’ x 4’ bunny cage, so to hop right to me was a red flag.  Secondly, she was very limp.  I looked her over and she had no apparent injuries. There were no contusions or broken bones, but her fur was wet and slobbery and she didn’t struggle against my hands as she usually did when she was carried.

I carried her to the cage and put her in with her sister Snowfluff. The hutch door of the cage hung slightly open, an after-effect no doubt of the disaster-prone play date that Annabelle had enjoyed the previous afternoon (blog about that coming).  Snowfluff was wisely staying in the front part of the cage, away from the door and out of range, but Batman had always preferred to stay in the enclosed hutch area, nibbling on the redwood and staying out of sight.  Winston had no doubt noticed the door ajar and grabbed himself a little friend to play with.  I sat the bunny gently in the cage on top of a big pile of hay and proceeded to try to get my children to school on time.

After many tears and histrionics (Annabelle) and a promise for a veterinarian visit, if required (me), I got the wee ones to school and headed to the gym and then on to the grocery store.  I checked Batman the Bunny upon my return, and she seemed lethargic if not comatose.  I knew that cold was a close ally of shock, so I found an empty office tote in the garage and put a big towel in it. Then I wrapped the bunny in another towel and put her in the tote, which I placed in the small master bathroom (or “Daddy’s Bathroom” as the kids call it), which is one of the warmest areas of the house if you keep the door shut.


Then I went back to the kids’ school where I volunteer for several hours every week.  After school the kids were anxious to get home and check on Batman.

When I pulled into the driveway I noticed that the front gate of the yard hung wide open and knew that must have been another play date-casualty of the day before.  Winston ran out of the yard to greet us in the garage, merrily wagging his tail.

My quick check on Batman showed that she was seemingly a little better, slightly more alert and a bit perkier, although she had not moved her position at all.

After a quick boot and coat change, I went out through the back door to meet Ron, our farrier, who was waiting for me by the horse pens to put a set a shoes on Freckles.

As I stepped off the back porch I saw a broad scattering of confetti-like paper and packing peanuts scattered across the yard.  There was a bright red and yellow cardboard wrapper or cover scattered across the end of the porch, and a chewed up box as well as a large manila bubble-wrap envelope shredded across the grass.

It took me only a second to discover that the items shredded all over the back yard included a box that had previously contained a half-gallon of hoof ointment (present and undamaged) that I had ordered last week, as well as both a book (or pieces of it) and its mailing envelope that had obviously been delivered from  I was so mad I was fit to be tied, and I told Winston over and over what a bad dog he was as he accompanied me out the back gate, bouncing happily all around me with his tongue hanging out.

I was mad at the UPS man for just a second, but I knew it wasn’t his fault.  He had simply done what he had done dozens of times before at our house, which was to put the packages on the front step and leave them.  Winston was (almost) always locked in the back yard, where he could do no harm to any deliveries that may be left unsupervised until we came home.  On this day, unfortunately, he was free to help himself to both packages (how he carried the large box containing 3.5 lbs. of bubble-encased hoof liniment the hundreds of feet from front to back I don’t know).

But this IS Winston we are talking about.

Anyway, after Freckles got her shoes on and we did our evening chores, we were invited over to Grandpa Vernon’s and Grandma Kay’s for a snack (me and the kids) and a glass of (excellent, red) wine (me).  Before we left, though, I picked up the hundreds of pieces of shredded paper and plastic peanuts from the back yard, along with the remains of my book.

As I did so I noticed a big black lump next to the shreds.  I tried not to look, but it was so obvious I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

Sure enough, there was my left black fuzzy glove, one of a set that Annabelle had “borrowed” the previous weekend and returned to the house without.  It had very obviously been swallowed whole by Winston and then deposited next to my shredded book.  It was not vomited.

Annabelle ran inside to check the bunny, who she said was doing a little better.  I took my book inside and quickly tried to figure out which title it was, since I had ordered two and they were being delivered from different addresses.


I really couldn’t tell which book it was.


When we got back from Grandpa Vernon’s an hour or so later, the bunny was still holding her own, and Annabelle pronounced her fine.  She took her outside and put her back in the cage, and I started the evening routine, complete with twenty minutes of hysterical crying from Batman (the Boy not the Bunny) when we couldn’t reach daddy on the phone.

This morning I was up early and went out right away to check on the bunny.  I left Batman the Boy sound asleep in my bed, moving quickly to sprawl over the scant eight inches of mattress he had allowed me to sleep on all night as soon as I vacated the space.  His sister slept across the end of the bed, covered in a deer blanket (picture of not fur of) snoring quietly.

I turned on the back porch light and Snowfluff  instantly hopped out of the hutch and over to see what was going on.  I opened the hutch door with a growing feeling of dread to find a stiff, very dead and probably frozen Batman propped against it.

Well hell.

I shut the bunny door with teary eyes and went back inside, silently praying that the kids didn’t want to check on Batman before they went to school.

They didn’t.

I spent part of the morning trying to decide if I should go and try to find an identical bunny before school gets out, or just tell the kids what happened and let Batman the Boy bury his bunny in the well-established pet and bird graveyard behind the back fence.

I decided on the latter, and boxed Batman the Bunny comfortably in a shoe box, wrapped in a little towel, for when the kids come home.

I have a feeling we have a lot of tears followed by replacement bunny shopping in our immediate future.


As for Winston, he is a member of our family and I wouldn’t really give him away.

Unless I could find someone who wants him.

Categories: Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments


On Friday night Grandma Kay and Grandpa Vernon came over for an impromptu dinner of Desperate Hubby’s perfectly barbecued tri-tip steak along with roasted red potatoes and bacon-infused garlic green beans.

Did I mention my husband is a really good cook?

In the course of conversation Grandpa casually mentioned that he’d noticed a couple of brave pigeons had returned to the barn after the much-touted Pigeon Patrols had scared most of them off a couple of weeks back.  (See Batman’s Pigeon Patrol 2013:  If It Flies It Dies, if you are interested).

Batman was all over that information.

When I left for yoga yesterday morning at 10:00, he was dressed in full camo and crowded into the recliner next to DH, who was trying to catch an early football game or something equally compelling on TV.  I asked the boys what was up.

“I’m waiting for daddy to get dressed.  We’re going to go out and shoot those last two pigeons” my little sportsman matter-of-factly explained.

When I came back home about an hour and a half later, the kids were nowhere in sight and DH was waiting for me in the garage so he could leave to run some pre-whitetail-hunting-trip errands.  My question as to the whereabouts of the little people was answered with “they are out in the horse pens skating on ice puddles.”

I changed my shoes and coat and went out to check.  Sure enough, there was an ice puddle about 5” by 3” that was strong enough to hold the weight of the kids, and they were sliding about it on their boots, holding two very unenthusiastic cats that were apparently participating in a “dance contest”.

I wandered around petting the horses and looking at the water holes that had NOT been strong enough to hold the kids, which now were sloppy puddles with a few remaining shards of ice clinging to the mud around the edges.

My meandering took me near the entrance to the covered barn area, which reminded Batman to tell me that he and daddy had “shot a pigeon but we must have only got him in the bum because he flew away.”


Winston accompanied me on my rambles, as usual walking right beside me with his head held at the precise height that allowed me to pet him as we strolled along together.  In the darkest corner of the little barn he left me, suddenly dashing to the fence and running out into the sunlight at full speed with a dead bird hanging from his mouth.  Instead of the usual pigeons we had been seeing in the barn this bird was a (long) dead starling.

In life they look something like this.

The one we found looked like this (well, it did after I pried it out of poor Winston’s mouth and gave it to an ecstatic Batman).

By the Head

I hadn’t seen my little boy so happy since he had flown the last dead pigeon around by its poor lifeless wings.

He held it by the head.

He held it by the tail.

By the Tail

He flew it merrily about by the wings.

By the Wings

He showed it to Winston (who no doubt thought “Wait a minute boy!  That’s mine!”)

Look Winston

He showed it to Freckles, who showed far more interest in a dead bird than I thought a horse would.  Or should.

Look Freckles

It was unclear what had caused the demise of the small speckled bird, but whatever it was made my macabre little hunter very happy.  His exact words were “Mom! At least I got to have one dead bird in my day!”


When he was finished socializing with the bird he walked happily over to the Bird Cemetery (I think he would have whistled if he knew how (Batman, not the bird)), where he buried the starling next to Perry II, Hunter and Tougher.


I asked him what the name of the new occupant was, and Batman answered without hesitation.

“Puffy,” he said.

I don’t know.  I didn’t ask.

Once the bird was properly buried in the barely thawed mud and covered with dozens of small rocks Batman came in the house.  He was cold and wanted to put his snow pants on so he could go “ice skate” some more.

About that time Desperate Hubby came home.

“What have you been up to?” he asked.

“I found a dead bird dad!  His name is Puffy and I buried him next to the other birds.  It is so cool how many birds I have now.  When we move to a new house someday I am going to dig all those birds up and take them with us for a Bird Graveyard!”


I’d like to add two things for the record:

1)  We are not planning on moving to a new house anytime soon, and I sincerely hope that Batman finds another fascination before that time arrives.


2)  It sure does seem like I have been writing a lot of bird stories lately.

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A Day of Firsts

Yesterday was a big day around our household. It heralded many Firsts, including…..

First day of School for both kids.

First day of Kindergarten for Batman.

First day of me working for reals in our office with Desperate Hubby.

First day of me sitting at my new office desk.  (Which was my BIRTHDAY PRESENT from Desperate Hubby, by the way.  Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to yell.  It’s just that…..really hon?  A DESK. Why not an IRON.  Or a VACUUM CLEANER?!).  But it really is a pretty nice desk.

We had spent quite a bit of time preparing for this day of Firsts.

In the past few weeks we went shopping for polo shirts and khaki skorts and pants.  We took the polos to be embroidered with our school logo at the uniform shop.  We bought new backpacks and got those embroidered too.  We made two or three more trips to get all the school supplies listed on the class lists.

Oh, and Desperate Hubby went shopping for a desk.  Did I mention that it was my birthday present?

The night before school started, both kids got to choose their dinner meal.

Annabelle predictably chose chicken and noodles, (hold the chicken) served over mashed potatoes (if you are wondering what that looks like, it is basically wide egg noodles cooked in chicken broth, served over well-buttered mashed potatoes.)

Batman, also predictably, chose Rainbow Trout.  Of course, Rainbow Trout is not always easy to find in the grocery store around here, so he had pan-seared Swai, a type of catfish which is very easy to find in stores around here, and which he believes is another name for Rainbow Trout.

I’m gonna be in big trouble when that kid learns how to read.

The dawning of the day of Firsts came all too early, especially for Batman who customarily stays up later than me and Annabelle and then usually sleeps until 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning.  Despite getting to bed at an early hour, it took my little boy a bit to wake up for his 7:00 am breakfast call.  That is until he came to this realization: “I can’t believe it is my FIRST DAY of kindergarten!! I am SO EXCITED!!”

We got ourselves dressed and headed down the road to the nearby school.  DH even accompanied us, another first.  Before going inside, we paused for a couple of photos.

Batman appeared cool as a cucumber on the outside, but his face in this picture told the truth.  I think he was just a little bit nervous about his First day.

Here We Go

DH took this picture of the three of us together.  Yes, I am fully aware that my midriff is showing in this picture.  And yes, I am also (all too) aware that…..40…. is too old to be showing your midriff in pictures.  Or really anywhere else for that matter.

Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to digitally erase the pale white area peeking out below my sweater, so there you go.

I really need to learn how to use Photoshop,

First Day Smiles

Once we were inside the hallowed hallways, the kids’ personality differences manifested themselves immediately.  Batman walked confidently, albeit quietly, into the classroom and greeted his teacher.  Annabelle clung to my arm and pleaded with me to stay with her as long as possible.

Batman sat right down in the reading circle with his teacher and listened attentively as she began to explain the daily routine to all of the children.  He is in the very back of the picture, sitting underneath the blue board.

Batman Contemplates

I stayed with Annabelle until the final bell rang, and she at last let go of my arm and agreed to sit in her assigned seat and stay there.

Annabelle is Fine

As I left the school, I couldn’t help but reflect on how different this drop-off was from the previous year, when Annabelle tried to pull away, sobbing, from the kindergarten teacher’s hold and I cried all the way home.  Another First.

I went to the office for a few hours to get acclimated to my new list of duties, rode my horse, went to the store, then headed back to the pick up the kids.

They were all smiles.  Batman talked non-stop about a new friend he had made, a girl no less, named Claire.  He said he loved school and had learned a bunch of new stuff, though he could not remember what it was.  Annabelle had enjoyed her first day too, getting caught up with friends from last year and marveling that  her new teachers were so very nice.

The kids had a snack and we filled out the paperwork that had been sent home in their backpacks.  It was a perfectly peaceful ending to the day of Firsts.  Then the afternoon suddenly got more interesting with a call from Grandpa Vernon.

Apparently our neighbor had spotted an injured crow out in the pasture earlier in the day.  He said the crow was unable to fly, and if we wanted to the kids and I could retrieve it and try for a better outcome than we had enjoyed with Perry the Pigeon (my very first blog, in March or so of last year).

The kids had been hounding me to take them swimming at the ‘Y’ like “All the kids in the after-school program get to!” so I thought a half-dead crow would be an excellent distraction.

Annabelle was out in the front yard giving her a cat a bath (yeah, it was as funny as it sounds, but probably not to the cat) so Batman and I grabbed a large bucket and headed down to meet Vernon.

Grandpa Vernon just hates it when I take his picture.   But I don’t care.

Grandpa Vernon

We walked to where the bird had wedged himself up against the fence, and Grandpa Vernon picked him up.

Lifelike but Dead

Unfortunately, Charlie the Crow (as I had already mentally dubbed him) had already passed on to that big tree in the sky.  Although he looked remarkably intact, he was deader than a doornail.  Whatever that is.

Initial Exam

Batman was intrigued with Charlie.  He held him in his gloved hands and examined him at length.

Then he asked if we could keep him.  He was very disappointed when I said no.  Grandpa Vernon told Batman to go and put the dead bird in the dumpster.  Batman eventually complied, but not before taking Charlie down to show his dad, who had just arrived home from work.

After the viewing, Batman took Charlie on his last flight toward the bird’s rusty metal grave.  Charlie swooped and soared once more, though probably in a way he could not have managed in real life.

Flying to Dumpster

Then Batman put Charlie on the ground and further replicated the flying pose.  He was pretty fascinated with the dead bird’s wings.

Flying on Ground

When he was finished playing with the corpse, Batman unceremoniously tossed Charlie in the dumpster, sparing nary a glance over his shoulder as he ran back toward the house.

After dinner, baths and more stories (Annabelle read to me this time, since she’s back in school now) I tucked the kids into bed and contemplated the day of Firsts.   It had been a successful day all around (unless you consider the point of view of Charlie the Crow and possibly Annabelle’s cat).  While I wouldn’t consider it a wildly exciting day by any means, it nonetheless was a positive, measurable and smooth passage to a slightly different stage of life.

Here’s to a lifetime of happy Firsts.

Categories: Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

RIP Perry the Pigeon

If you did not read the post from yesterday about Perry the Pigeon you might want to do that first, to give you the background on the following story.  Or not.

I am sad to report that Perry the Pigeon has Perished.  My much hoped for expungement of my dismal animal rescue record was not to be.  When I returned home this morning from taking the kids to D&B to pick up some cracked corn for Perry and then dropping said wee ones off at preschool, this is what I found. I don’t know if he succumbed to his injuries by the dogs and cats yesterday (likely) or the rigors of his photo shoot in the hands of Handsome Hubby this morning, but he was dead.

Dead Bird

Handsome Hubby suggested that I put Perry in a ziploc bag and freeze him to save him for training Winston the Maniac Birddog Puppy a little later in the spring, but I knew that wouldn’t fly with the kids (har har). When I picked them up from preschool a couple of hours later, the first question they asked was of course “How’s Perry?!”  I told them the truth, that Perry had passed away. Annabelle is my stoic one.  She shrugged and said “That’s OK Mom.  Pigeons are really dirty birds anyway and they poop all over everything.”  Zachary was very quiet.  I knew this meant trouble.

You see, Zach had gone into such a state of despair after the death of Bluey, the Blue Betta fish (we’re pretty clever with names around here) that I had to make an emergency run to PetCo that same afternoon to purchase a new, red, Betta fish.  That the kids named….wait for it…..Reddy.

Anyway, Zach was pretty calm all the way home until he walked in the door and looked in the box.  Then the hysterics began.  He was so upset that I almost started crying, and I believe that I made it pretty clear how I feel about pigeons in the original Perry story.  Zach wailed.  His little face turned red and big fat tears rolled down his cheeks.  He asked over and over again if I thought that Perry was *really* dead and if I thought he might come back to life.  He was beyond consolation.

I finally calmed him down a little bit by suggesting that he could choose one of his old baby blankets to bury Perry in. He chose a nice little blue and white cotton blanket (I would like to say right now that if the blanket that appears in the following photo is one you gave Zach as a baby gift….I’m sorry).  We put the bird down on the blanket and Annabelle came up with the idea of sprinkling a little of the cracked corn on the blanket so he would have something to eat on the way to heaven.  Nice touch, I thought.

Bird on Blanket

Then we wrapped Perry up in a nice tidy little package that dripped small pieces of cracked corn all over the hardwood floor.

Annabelle hold pigeon

Zach was still too upset to even consider touching the bundle, but Annabelle happily picked it up and carried it outside.

We had chosen a nice little spot in the orchard outside our yard where (most importantly for mommy, the digger) the dirt was nice and soft.  I dug the hole, every strike of the shovel punctuated by the wailing of my three year old son.  When I thought I was finished, he made me dig it deeper.  Twice.

kids look in hole

Finally we were ready.  I would like to say that Annabelle gently placed the poor deceased bird in the hole, but she actually just tossed him in.

Annabelle inspects package

I straightened the blanket before I took the photo.

Then we put the dirt on top and put some rocks to cover it so the cats and dogs wouldn’t try to dig it up.  Annabelle helped. Zach just watched and cried.


When it was all said and done, Zach stood for several minutes just looking at the rocks.  And crying.  I felt so bad I almost offered to take him to get a hamster at PetCo.  He really wants a hamster.  I don’t.


Then we went in the house.  Zach was still sniffling.  Annabelle is ever the helper in little brother management.  She said “You know Zach, it’s not that bad that Perry died.  Pigeons are very dirty birds and they poop all over the horses in the barn, and they even poop on your head.”

Zach thought long and hard about this.  Then he stopped crying, made a big face, and said “EEWWWWWWWW!!!  That is so gross.  I HATE pigeons!” and he hasn’t mentioned Perry since.

I am SO glad I didn’t offer up the hamster.

Categories: Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Perry the Pigeon

I would like to say in my defense that I thought it was a dove.  You know, cooing, chocolates……mate for life, that sort of thing.

The kids were outside playing happily, Batman was wearing the cowboy costume that he checked out from school (note in the second picture that he has added his sister’s pink spurs to the ensemble).


I was in the house having a nice glass of pinot grigio (OK, who am I kidding.  It was the regular cheap swill I always drink).

Suddenly the back sliding glass door flew open in a dramatic fashion and Horsecrazy rushed in.  “Mom! Toby caught a bird!”  Now that WAS news.  Toby is our old man dog, almost thirteen, pretty much completely deaf and he can’t see that great either.  I rushed to the yard to see just what type of feathered creature was so frail that it could be caught by such a feeble old dog. Toby was settling in to his favorite spot on the yard with a small gray creature in his mouth.  It was the exact same spot he settles into when Handsome Husband throws him a raw beef bone or the kids throw one of the puppy’s chewies outside.  You get the picture.

I yelled at Toby to put the bird down, but as I said, he can’t hear anyway, and then I rushed to the house to get a pair of gloves. I removed the bird from his mouth and looked it over.  It was pretty much limp with a few small feathers sticking out in various places on it’s little body.  I was pretty sure a wing was broken. It seemed comatose, and death was obviously certain. What to do… two wee children were looking at me expectantly, like I could fix all this. Huh.

Inspiration flashed, and I said “Let’s just take the bird out and put it on the haystack!” in my happy voice.  “Then its friends will come and get it.”  The kids looked at me dubiously, but after I secured Toby on a chain (he was none too happy with me) they trekked out with me to the shed, where I placed the surely soon-to-be dead bird on the second bale off the ground.  The kids insisted on sitting there with it, so after a few token attempts to get them to come in the house I returned to my waiting glass of Pinot.

I forgot about the cats.

We have three barn/pet cats who are avid hunters.  Three minutes later a hysterical Horsecrazy came running into the house.  “MOM THE CATS ARE GOING TO GET THE BIRD!!!” We rushed outside to find Batman in a similar state of panic, jumping up and down in consternation as three hungry barn cats fished for the bird, who had managed to dive into a crack between the bales. I guess it wasn’t quite so dead as I thought it was.

Now, anyone who has known me for a long time knows I have a long history of animal rescue on my resume.  There was the baby pheasant rescued from the swather that I drowned trying to make it drink milk from a plastic cup, and the entire litter of kittens that I accidentally baked to death by placing them on top of a heating pad in a little box when their mother was killed by a tractor.  I said history.  Not successful history.  In my defense, there was no internet back then to look up proper procedures for animal saving. Nonetheless, nowadays I like to think of myself as reformed.


Apparently not.

Horsecrazy Annabelle does know there is an internet.  She knows that you can look up most things on it.  And when we determined that bird wasn’t dead after pulling it out from behind the bales, she asked in her sweetest voice “Mom, could we maybe bring it in the house and look up on the computer what to do?” Ah, the wonders of technology.  And a five year old. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

We brought the bird in and settled him for the night, taping the box shut and placing it in a warm place, exactly as suggested on the wild bird saving web page we found.  I was sure he would be dead by morning.

He wasn’t.


Handsome Hubby let me know that he was a pigeon, not a dove.  I hate pigeons.  Flying Rats.  Scourge of a Barn.  Good only for training bird dogs.  And target practice.  Then Handsome Husband said the following words…  “Annabelle, what do you think we should do with the bird?” I said he was Handsome, not smart.

Now we have a half dead pet pigeon living in a dog crate in the garage.  His name is Perry.  I’ll keep you posted on his recovery.

Categories: Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

If I’d had my gun……I woulda killed him!

It was a windy, cold, nasty afternoon here in the beautiful country.  Annabelle, of course, was undeterred.  You see, although we live on a little piece of heaven in the country, the front of our property shares a border with a local park and soccer field.  When the fields are filled with players and their adoring parents Annabelle feels compelled to provide them with a free equine exhibition.

I was happily puttering around the kitchen, doing a little laundry and putting chicken into Handsome Husband’s favorite marinade, when my little darling trotted her sweet black pony over to the horse trailer.  I witnessed this from the kitchen window, and knew pretty well what would happen next.  She ran in, and said in her nicest voice, “Mom, would you saddle Reno for me?” I sighed, (I sigh a lot, as it turns out.  Zach recently asked me to “stop making that noise mom!”) Then I pulled on a jacket and gloves and went out to saddle the pony.  I had a lot of chores to do outside anyway, so I thought I might as well nurture my little girl’s passion while I was at it.

Anyway, if I didn’t mention it, it was very windy outside.  The pony was frisky and in no mood for a spontaneous “Pony Express Meets the Idaho Frontier” rendition.  I saddled him quickly, objecting but eventually conceding to Annabelle’s request to add her pink breast collar to the horsey ensemble (when she puts on a show she goes all out).  As I proceeded to bridle the little pony angel, I could tell he was not in the mood.  I put the pink reins around his neck before I slipped the halter off, and put my right arm over his tiny ears to pull the headstall up.

Low and behold, the little son of a buck pulled back.  Thinking I would give him a quick tune up, I whacked him gently on the off side cheek – a “come back to me sweetness tap” really.  Reno objected to this mightally, reared back, pulled the bridle out of my hands and proceeded to drag me about twenty feet by the neon pink roping reins which were looped around his neck.  I finally let go over by the propane tank, and the little sweetie proceeded to buck like a saddle bronc across the open grass area where we park the trailers.  He dragged between his legs the most expensive pieces of tack I have purchased in some time, a cute little hand tooled headstall supporting a very nice pony bit which cost at least 20% of the price of the pony himself.  And he wasn’t a cheap pony.

Although my  wee children were delighted by the escapade, I wasn’t, and I am pretty sure I said some words that would not be acceptable at the fancy Charter School next door to us, should they ever deign to admit us in the first place.  I chased the little bronco across the field, and by that time we had attracted the attention of several of the soccer parents, and even a few bored players.  I caught up to him by the neighbor’s old horse, and thought the game would be over quickly at that point when he lowered his head to indulge in some leftover alfalfa that had blown from the feeder.  As soon as I approached the little sucker he peeled right, mashing his expensive bit with a hind food and bolted for the haystack.  The next attempt to corral him was less pretty. I was yelling at Annabelle to get in front of him (after a quick check of the wind to make sure the soccer moms couldn’t hear) and we nearly had him before he was off again, running full tilt around the corner, the carefully tooled headstall being ground to a pulp beneath his horrid little feet.

He stopped around the corner this time, close to his own pen, by a small stack of alfalfa hay.  That is his weakness.


I was really mad at him.  But I refrained from doing anything really diabolical, because the kids were watching. I calmly bridled him and boosted Annabelle aboard.  Zach was still laughing when he went to board his own ride.  They had a good day after that, pursuing their respective passions.


But as I believe I mentioned before……it was a good thing I didn’t have my gun.

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