Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gracious Guests Bearing Magnificent Gifts

January is a cold, uncaring month. It creeps into your bones and ears and soul and wraps it's icy tentacles around your very core. And then, if you're very, very lucky, something happens to raise your spirts and shed a ray of hope. Today it motored down our driveway and lifted my weary self from the frozen despair of darkest winter.

After much planning and cancellation due to human illnesses on all sides (they're a weak species) the Toothfloater who tends to the woman and the male humans' dentition and his lovely spouse Katie came to visit. They are a charming couple who know how to meet and greet equines. Katie was especially patient when Doc and Molly swarmed her and proceeded to groom the faux fur trim on her coat. I exchanged some pleasantries with the Toothfloater and shared with him my belief that the woman needs more intense and uncomfortable procedures performed on her teeth. He seemed to take my meaning.

They were not only the perfect guests, they brought me the most magnificent gifts in the history of gift giving. I now have my very own leather shank with my name engraved on a brass plate - no more cast off nylon excresence or worn rope length with a rusty clip. No one else is allowed to use it - it is mine. AND, while I was still overcome by the first gift, I was presented with a gift fruit/vegetable basket/bucket. I confess, the woman had to remove the crinkly outer wrapping before I could approach, as it gave me flashbacks to the horrors of shavings bags. Upon examination, it proved to contain bunches of tender young carrots with the tops still on, a mountain of apples and a green plant that is called celery as the centrepiece. It took my mind right off the howling wind and blowing snow. The downside - I am told I must share.

This visit had such an impact that I believe it may well carry me into early spring. It is nice to make contact with the outside world and to know there are humans who do not consider six carrot rounds and an apple slice a sufficient treat. I may have met human royalty - there can be not other explanation for such inherent graciousness and generosity.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Need Golf Shoes

The relatively mild weather continues, with even a bit of sun thrown in here and there. Today Jack and self are cached behind the barn as a south wind, full of vim and vigour, is blowing up under our tails. Doc is doing some logging work in our grove of trees and Molly is literally eating the rail fence. The status quo prevails.

I am having one rather serious problem, however, and the woman is being no help at all. The others seem to navigate quite well on this icy/snowy/muddy terrain but I find myself stranded on the one patch of earth next to the barn. I loathe this footing and as a consequence become quite tense and stilted when I attempt to move about, exacerbating the problem. Jack breezes by, unfazed by the possibility of breaking something. The woman says I am neurotic, self-absorbed and unduly prone to fretfulness but I say I'm just careful.

I have heard of special shoes used by humans to play something called golf. I know these would solve my problem and surely four small ones would not be too expensive or hard to find? Or perhaps just some cheese graters to strap on my feet? Or why can't the woman simply carry me from place to place? Heaven knows the exercise would do her good.

Meanwhile, Jack continues to gallop about recklessly, leaping over things and making turns like a rabbit being pursued by wolves. Sometimes he even shoves me as he passes, trying to push me into action. I hear the wind whistling through his ears and he yells back over his shoulder "git yer a** in gear, sonny!" MOST unseemly for someone of his years but I choose to be charitable and chalk it up to late-blooming childhood.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spring - or Just the Delusion Thereof ?

We have been gifted with unseasonably warm and sunny weather for this time of year and Doc and Sally and Molly, optimists all, think it is actually early spring. I know better, and so does Jack, though he insists on acting like a young lamb, frolicking about as if he's grown rockets on the soles of his feet.

Today the woman removed Doc's blanket and he rolled five times in a row, working the snow well into his back. It's the kind of granular white stuff humans call "maple sugar snow" because a few weeks from now it will signal that the sap has begun rising in the maple trees. I have tasted the maple syrup they make from boiling down gallons of the sap and it is delicious; of course they keep it locked away in the house. I would like to go on record as saying we are nowhere near maple syrup season. This frolicking will end in tears - mark my words. And the real snow will return with a vengeance.

In the true spirit of the winter olympics, Jack has expanded his horizons on the sports front. Not content with rassling me and playing high-speed hide-and-seek in the trees, today he added the high jump on ice to his repertoire. Not intentionally. It came about when the woman rinsed out the wheelbarrow affair and left it on it's side in the sun. You can guess the rest. That crazy old man came tearing around the corner of the barn, saw the wheelbarrow at the last second, and cleared it like a puissance jumper! Both the woman and I would have benefitted from the use of smelling salts. Jack laughed like one demented and said "heehee, today i could jump clear over tha moon!" I fear he's become as mad as a hatter.

I will carry on as the lone voice of reason in this northern looney bin.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

There Ought to be A Law

Surely this sort of weather is illegal? And if so, why isn't someone overhauling the legal system? They finally came to their senses and closed down the gulags in Siberia, but here I am, stuck between a snowbank and and ice patch. The sun is only present in a token sort of way, not enough heat to warm the cockles of a donkey's heart, let alone his ears.

This morning I was immersed in a complicated dream about spring grass and trespassing moose when the lights in our barn flicked on and a hideous face shoved itself into mine. "Sheabber", it said "id timbe to ged ub". The face was blotchy and it had beady, bloodshot eyes and a reddened nose. On it's head was a strange, bulky shape with flaps and fasteners. My heart rate soared as I prepared to flee the invading sasquatch but it proved to be the woman wearing her new hat and suffering from what Jack calls "the grippe". She coughed at me in a phlegmy sort of way and undid my stall guard, saying. "Oud you go, and doand dri to sneag bagh in while Ib pudding oud your hay". Sneak past that? I hardly think so.

Doc is having other winter woes, caused by our windows being completely frosted over with a thick layer of rime. He has a large window in his room that overlooks the house and driveway and he checks it regularly to make sure our territory is safe. Imagine his dismay when he wasn't able to complete his usual security check. He left his hay untouched and called the woman over. She thought he might be ill and felt his ears and feet and fussed over him but he just kept turning back to the window.

She finally figured out the problem and, hacking and wheezing away, used the plastic rectangle upon which our treats are prepared to scrape his window clear. He knew exactly what she was doing and helpfully kept his chin on her shoulder the whole while. When she was done he heaved a deep sigh, nudged her arm in thanks and gave a long surveillance stare outside. She has now purchased an automotive ice remover for exclusive use on Doc's window.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year, My Friends!

It seems I blinked once or twice and a new year crept up like Herself with a tube of vermifuge concealed behind her back. Jack tells me the years have a nasty habit of accelerating until they leave you spent and gasping for breath, wondering what the blur was; it was in fact another twelve months sprinting past.

I am still recovering from the substitution of my old, round, floor model feeder for a new, square, black one that hangs on the stall partition. It was a Christmas gift from the male human. He meant well, I'm sure, but forgot to take into consideration my loathing of any drastic changes within my usual environment. The first evening was the worst and I shook and snorted in the corner for ages. The woman showed me the bribes she had loaded into it but still it filled me with a terrible sense of foreboding. Five days later I am dining from it but keeping my senses on high alert in case it should suddenly, as Doc says. "go todally mental". You just never know.

The woman has grown concerned over Sally's increasing girth and has concocted a fiendish scheme to help her grow fit. Actually, the get- fit scheme arrived in the form of a feline Christmas present. It looks like a small writing instrument but instead of ink, it projects a dot of red light. Sally was initially and understandably shocked at the appearance of this alien beam and said "Pfffffftttt, Rrrrrrrr, Eeeeeeowwww" in her small but firm voice. Then she began to try to capture the intruder and the woman managed to get her up to speed and puffing in a short time. A few days have elapsed and now Sally has become rather blase about the whole thing, indicating that she would rather lie in her cozy igloo and occasionally pat at the dot in a desultory fashion. I'll let you know how it progresses from here - possibly the woman chasing the red dot for Sally's entertainment. And mine, of course.

In the house, the dismantling of the tree and it's accoutrements has taken place and Violet is very forlorn indeed. She rushed downstairs at the first sound of an ornament being plucked from a branch and complained bitterly the whole while. When the tree was finally stripped of it's finery, Violet lay underneath with her arms around the trunk, looking for all the world like a protester making a last stand; to no avail, however, and tonight she has retreated into Penny's dog bed in a blue funk (what's that? oh, yes, Penny was still in it).

Wishing you the best of everything in the coming year - free from vermifuge and needles and full of superior foodstuffs, soft beds and lots of sunshine.