It hailed. The horses can go in and out of their stalls at any time. Instead, Joy was freaking out in the paddock going “It hurts! I don’t know why it hurts, but it hurts!”
I grab her and pull her inside. She gave me this look like “Wow! It stopped hurting!!”. She dove into the hay I had put down and happily munched it as buckets of rain and hail poured down.
I had to coax Jessie into her stall with a bucket of grain as a bribe. She would rather stand in hail then spend a minute locked in the stall. I locked her in anyway.
Ava, the smart one, stood dry and calm in her stall.
A week later, snow is fiercely wipping around on 40mph winds. I bribe Jessie inside again and quietly sneak through the other stall so I can slide Jessie’s outer door shut without her knowing. Jessie hears and starts to bolt out, but stops when I block the door with my body. I half-thought she might run me down to get out. She used to do that. I see the thought cross her mind. She stands, watching me as I shut her in.
A day later the skies are clear, the insects are coming out, the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming. All of the horses and dogs are outside rolling in the dirt and grass. Lazing in the warmth of the sun.
Two days later and everything is covered in snow. The dog bowls and puddles are frozen. The barn cats are huddled together for warmth. Jessie stands alone in the pasture, her butt to the wind. I try to coax her in with hay. Joy and Ava are already eating theirs in their stalls. Jessie acknowledges the offering but refuses to budge, so i bring it to her. I believe she’s nearly got me trained.
I found a big piece of plastic in Ava’s stall today. It looked old, and doesn’t match any of our bedding bags or other things we keep in the barn. No idea where it came from. Not sure where Ava found it, but apparently no one is worse for it. I had one hand with a flake, plastic piece in the other. I toss the flake in Joys stall and think “Wonder what would happen if I shake the plastic vigorously?” Joy – continues to eat hay. Ava – OMERGHAD!!!!!
She had the good sense to look abashed once she realized what it was.
I shook it some more, rubbed it all over Joy, flung it around her legs. Plastic is not something Joy fears.
My Grandma died Saturday night. I was cleaning stalls Sunday and trying not to cry. I was fine all day. I’m not sure why cleaning stalls would be the trigger. My Grandma was quite the woman. She was a petite woman. Small in stature, small in size. I bet she never broke a hundred pounds in her life. But she was tough. She was the type of lady that could skin a coon, kill a chicken, keep a myriad of little hellions running around safe, all while cooking a Thanksgiving meal for a massive family. And she’d do it all with a happiness and warmth that exceeded all human possibilities.
I judged all other grandma’s against her. Will yours clean up dog vomit with the aplomb of a field medic that had seen combat? Mine did. Did yours make the worlds greatest dill pickles? Mine did. Did yours let you go milk the cows and feed the calves whenever you visited? Ok, maybe somebody elses grandma did that too, but it was uber cool of her.
She left this big hole in the family.
Ironically, the last conversation with my grandma she told me, “If you put it on the horses feet, it’ll make them dance pretty”. Maybe she would’ve said the same to anyone, but before her mind went she used to know I was the only horse crazed grand kid.
It is snowing again today.
Tomorrow it’ll look more like spring.