I live in the country and have to drive about a mile to my mail-box. This entails a lot of effort. I first must bribe my one remaining horse; “Week-end Zipper”. (Zippy). An odd name ; “Zippy”, being as I bought her from the track for a brood mare, because she had an injured leg and was unable to race. However, she is registered with the “Jockey Club” and has an impressive pedigree. It has been a great investment. I paid $250.00 for her ten years ago and she has fouled four fillies. Which I sold for a total of $35,000. After having bred her with the
California Champion Quarter Horse; “Page Him Again”.
I set up a paddock just outside the front window of my living room. I would sit in my recliner through the night and wait for the births. I never missed a birthing. I never had a Vet. Just read the books and became an Equine Mid-wife. It was all so exciting. Since the Mother is a registered Race Horse, I named all the fillies after the racy vocal group “The Spice Girls”; Cinnamon, Sage, Pepper and Saffron. I entered them in some horse shows and they did well. They were all beautiful. I found a wonderful horse trainer; “Tracy Johnson” of Running Horse Ranch, here in Oroville. She was of the “Horse whisperers” school. It was a fun time. And a fulfillment of my childhood dream.
Now we have only our ole mare; “Zippy”. I think she sometimes thinks she is a dog. She wonders around on the property at will without a halter. She comes up to the house in the morning and evening for her alfalfa. She demands her carrot in the afternoon. If she does not get it, she will hang out at the dog yard gate and tease the dogs. Getting them barking until we come out and give in to her demands. She has some horse friends on an adjoining ranch and will try to slip out the big gate when we drive through. For a gimpy horse she proves her name as she “Zips” past us and runs to join the neighbors’ herd. Which is very annoying, as we have to go and retrieve her with a bucket of sweet feed and walk her back home.We have this tariff we pay her to get through the gate without her hassle. We just give her an extra flake of Alfalfa when ever we wish to go through the big gate. This distracts her so we can take our leave.
It had been an annoying day. I have five female dogs in heat and only want to breed one. I like to skip every other heat for the health of the dames and pups. This is very difficult. My two male Schnauzer studs are best buddies until there is a female in heat. Then it is war! They want to KILL each other. Alas, they often try. The dog fights are frightful. This day I had to break the two boys up. My White stud; “Shasta Breeze”, is larger than my Black and Silver male; “Radar”. Breezy is usually the more passive one , until there is the smell of “Poontang” in the air. Then it is WAR! And he is the largest Warrior of the two.
I was on the phone and I heard the blood curdling screams and yelps. They were on the laundry porch. Breezy had Radar pinned down by his ear. Breezys’ freshly groomed white fur was soiled with Radars’ red blood. I have learned very painfully not to get into the middle of dogs fighting and have the scars to prove my hard learned lessons. Never use ones’ hands, only feet or a broom to separate two snarling, biting dogs. I drop the phone, grab the broom and a can of spray, any spray, they hate to be sprayed. I finally get them separated. Bring Radar into the living room and assess his wounds. Torn ear, several bite marks all mendable with some Steptic and Anti-biotic cream. Place him in the kennel in the living room. Check Breezy, the blood seems to all be Radars’. Put Breeze in my bedroom for a time out.
It is getting dark and I need to go and get the mail. I go out the dog yard gate, stopping to chastise the dogs for barking. They all line up at the gate and serenade me with their whining pleas. “Please don’t leave us Mom!”, they chorus. Being Schnauzers the tone gets higher and HIGHER, until it becomes a Yodel.
I stop to water my half wine barrel garden. There are eight in all. The last of the tomatoes and peppers are quickly fading and making way for the more hardy kale and garlic. It is getting cold but no rain. So, I still need to water. My Ferrel cat; “Tom Cat”, that my Grand daughter rescued from under the horses hooves when it was just days old, rubs up against my leg. He is insatiable for affection. I am not a cat person. I like them at a distance. Therefore, I am a challenge to them. All cats try to woo me. I mostly find it annoying. I feed them and care for them and cry when they die. Through the years we have had several cats pass. It always wrenches my heart. But, I still maintain, I am not a cat person.
Zippy sees me and comes sauntering over, posting herself in the drive-way blocking my car. Threatening my departure until her tariff is met. I go to the shed and get her a flake of alfalfa from one of the bales. Only after I place her feed on her plywood plank does she move from the drive way releasing my hostage car.
I back the car up the driveway, putting the car in forward, I turn to circle the big Oak tree , veering to miss the pot holes and head for the big gate. I get out of the car open the big gates, get back into the car and drive through. Get out of the car, walk back to the gate to close it, lest Zippy finishes her feed and decides to go visiting with the neighbors. I go pass the old barn and through the now open second gate onto our adjoining five acres. Driving down the gravel road into the now empty creek gully. I notice the gravel is getting thin and hope we can make it through another winter before we need to buy another load of road base gravel. Dang, the third gate is closed. Ron must have closed it on his way out this morning. I stop the car and check the big white locker box next to the gate for packages left by Fed X and UPS. Yep, the rock is on the lid, signaling a delivery. I retrieve the package from QVC and wonder what the heck it is. I often turn on the TV in the middle of the night and order something from them, totally forgetting about it in the morning. It is mostly a surprise when I get a package. Life’s little adventures. 🙂 Placing the package in the trunk, I open the gate, climb back into the car and proceed to the dirt road off the property. It is about a half mile of dodging sharp rocks and large pot holes and wincing when I misjudge and a tire groans in protest. At last onto the paved road. Several of us residents pooled our money and paid $30,000. to pave this last half mile of road which connects with the paved county road, five years ago. I slow the car down and snug in close to the bank of mail boxes. I pull open our black mail box and reach in to claim the mail and a key to the mail locker box, located a quarter of a mile further down the road. I drive to the next road and pull my car onto this dirt road. I get out of my car open the keyed locker box and get another package, this one delivered by the USP. Ahh, it is from Amazon.com. Must be the new gadget for boiling hard-boiled eggs without the shell. I do most of my shopping on-line. And I love gadgets.
I climb back into my car , turn around and head back to the ranch. Feeling less peeved. I start to relax and enjoy the night. There is a huge winter moon, bright yellow and hanging low, just above my Oak Trees. I pass through the gate leading onto our five acres. There in the glare of my head lights is a four point buck. I stop the car and allow the beauty of the deer to engulf me. Three rabbits hop across the dirt road. It is postcard perfect. The moon, the trees, the deer, the rabbits all coming together to bring a smile of pure pleasure to my face. This is what makes living in the country so worth while. In spite of the multiple gates, bad roads, bruised tires and inconveniences. So long as I remember to smell the roses, appreciate the animals and acknowledge a full moon. I am indeed blessed and happy to be here.