Saturday, February 7, 2009

Purple, Warm & Fuzzy

I'm sure many of you remember the Alphabet Blog Challenge put on by Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch. My prize for participating was this purple, warm & fuzzy cap made personally by Rapunzel while she's been stuck up in her tower. People are always knitting and crocheting scarves, caps, and sweaters for my daughter, and I always wished someone would make one of these for me. Thank you, Lisa. It's beautiful. The purpleness and warmth of it reminded me of the purple perfumed bath oil beads I had collecting dust in my bathroom, and I was inspired to take a nice, warm relaxing bath -- the first I've had in years.

The cap couldn't have arrived at a better time, as it has been alternating between raining and snowing for the past two days. It's cold. The horses are seriously bored being cooped up in their stalls. I kept looking out the window to check for a break in the weather so that I could cut them loose to get their ya-yas out, but the neighbors ended up being more of a hindrance than the weather. They were out there all morning in the rain and snow working on yet another broken down truck. They've basically got this stack of trucks with their hoods up parked along my horses' fence line.

Eventually, they brought in a couple of men and an SUV hauling a flatbed trailer. They spent the next several hours trying to get the broken down truck onto the trailer. I kept waiting for them to leave so that I could safely get the horses out of their stalls without distractions and loud noises, but each time I looked out the window they didn't look any closer to being done than they were the hour before. I finally had to just go out there and deal with my wild horses, because it was getting past their lunch time.

First I opened the gates to each pen and laid out some hay. I knew I wasn't going to be able to get a halter on each horse and walk it to its pen, because these horses were out of their minds with fright over all the commotion next door. I opened the door to Bombay's stall and he raced out and hid behind the barn. He wouldn't even eat. He just stood there shaking. One of the men stopped working on the task at hand and came over to the fence to watch, as if he were a paying customer to a Saturday matinee, as opposed to staring into my private yard to watch my every move.

I started cleaning Bombay's stall and then my husband came out to help herd the horses to their pens. Bombay finally went into the round pen and we shut the gate behind him. Then we let Lostine out, and she charged back and forth not knowing what to do with herself. Then we released Gabbrielle in hopes that she would go straight to her pen in the back. She got halfway there, then someone dropped a wrench and she spun around to run back to us for safety. I shut the paddock gate before she could get back in, and then my husband lured her into the back pen with a handful of hay and shut the gate behind her.

Every time something like this happens, I think about all the movies where a barn is burning down and people lead the horses out with blindfolds around the horses' eyes. I wonder if blindfolding them would make any difference in getting control of them when they are freaked out over the actions of my clueless neighbors. Several times these neighbors tried to haul away the broken down truck on the trailer, but whatever they had securing it in place kept breaking, which made a huge crashing noise and the truck rolled backwards, nearly falling off the back of the trailer. That was followed up with a lot of yelling and running around.

A part of me wanted to go ask them to take a lunch break so that my horses could have a break too, but another part of me didn't want to get in the way of them removing one of the junky vehicles off the property. I was hoping they were taking it to the dump. After an hour of them trying to get this truck secured onto the trailer and failing, I almost went in the house and called a tow truck, which I planned to pay for just to get them out of my hair. What they were doing was just plain dangerous, and they should have let a professional tow the truck.

Of course, as soon as I finished all my outdoor chores and went inside, they finally got the job done and drove off down the street. A short time later I heard sirens heading off in the same direction they were headed. I wouldn't be surprised if the truck fell off the back of the trailer and caused an accident.

Earlier in the week my husband heard our female neighbor complaining to her husband that every vehicle on their lot was out of gas. Her husband then went around from truck to car to truck to car checking the gas gauges and slamming each door when he was done, all while my husband was working around the horses. That explains some of these neurotic vehicle searches they do on such a regular basis. Perhaps if they consolidated all their trips into one, instead of driving up and down the street every 5 minutes, then they'd have some gas. Of course it doesn't explain why the wife will stand staring into the trunk of her car for hours while I'm outside working with the horses. The gas gauge isn't in the trunk.

When I went out in the evening to feed the horses their dinner, I had hoped to get a few moments of peace with them. I wanted to stroke their fur and assure them that they were safe, but out came my neighbor opening and slamming every freakin' door on every one of her cars. I sat down on the step of my trailer and waited it out. She went in the house, and I started to push the wheelbarrow toward the barn. She came out again, opening and slamming, opening and slamming. I sat back down on my trailer step and waited as my horses ran circles in their stalls blowing loud warning snorts out their nostrils. The woman slammed the door to her house three more times as she went in and out and in, and then I was finally met with silence.

I got a few minutes of alone time with the horses, and then my husband came out to look for me. I'm sure he was worried that I might have been knocked unconscious by a nervous horse. Tomorrow is Sunday, and these neighbors go to church without fail, so hopefully the weather will give me enough of a break to commune with my furry friends.

I might even let them wear my hat.


ranchette said...

love the color of that hat! so pretty! Not sure what to make of your neighbors though...

dp said...

That's a great hat!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Doesn't Lisa knit nice hats? I got one too. I love it. So soft and warm!

How much land do each of you own in your neighborhood? Gosh, it seems that your neighbors are always right there, bugging!

Leah Fry said...

Nuz, why are those ponies so jumpy? Seems as though they would be well acclimated to those sorts of noises by now, with neighbors like that. I know mine don't even flinch at chain saws, compressors, etc. Mine are more likely to spook at 'nothing' than anything I can observe.

Great hat!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I live on 1.3 acres and these neighbors have a little more, I believe. They decided to park all their vehicles against my chain-link fence, which is about 15-feet from my barn. They have a solid fence on the other side of their property, so if they parked their vehicles there, they would give the neighbors a buffer from the noise of their failed efforts to be mechanics, plus we'd have a better view. I would think the horses would get used to all the commotion and door slamming after a while, and sometimes they surprise me by ignoring it, while other times these neighbors just get on the horses' last nerve. I think being cooped up in their stalls for two days and having no way to escape the noises was what pushed them over the edge.

"Ice Pony Girl" said...

You lucky duck! I love purple!

lytha said...

what a gorgeous hat. i love the color.

"as if he were a paying customer at a saturday matinee"...exactly. i thought of you this week as i had my own saturday matinee, apparently.

first there's this lady who brings her toddler at feeding time to watch the horses eat. they reach over the electric wires and touch the horses when they can. actually, they're kind of cute. if they see me coming with buckets, they hurry down to the fenceline to watch. i get that. if i didn't have a horse, i'd be at the fence too. they never barrage me with questions, so i smile at them and talk to the toddler.

but then the other day i was leading baasha and ronni thru the paddock to the gate, and a neighbor lady said, "where are you taking them?"

"to the barn."


"i'm gonna ride."


"no, uh, i have to bring him too cuz he escapes."

"oh, so you're gonna ride the big one, and you're gonna leave the little one in the barn. ok."

geez, nosy!

now i'm getting a little tired of people telling me "this is not a riding trail" cuz i'm very careful to not ride on trails with no horses allowed signs. i've got a big old number on both sides of my horse that people can use to report me to the police if i break a rule. however, it's tricky cuz lots of trails are not marked. these people just delight in telling me about my errors. whether i'm on a bike or on my horse, they feel it's their citizen duty to "help" me. well yesterday, i'm leading baasha cuz i'm scared i'm not allowed, and an old lady with a scottie dog stopped me and said "why aren't you riding!?" and i said, "i'm not sure i'm allowed to." and she said "well everyone else does here." *sigh*

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lytha - That's got to be frustrating. I probably would feel more comfortable with these neighbors and their guests if they would speak to me instead of just staring. Half the time they are staring at me and not my horses, which is what weirds me out. I have another neighbor who brings her toddler grandson over to see the horses, and I'm fine with that because I know what her motive is. Your young mother sounds like she's getting a bit possessive of the horses and doesn't want you to take them away. You must put a lot of miles on Baasha if you are always visiting trails you are not familiar with.

Andrea said...

I love the hat!! And it's so neat to see a picture of you. We normally only get to see your back when you are riding!! LOL!!

And your neighbors.....sigh....I would scream!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm so happy you like the hat, NM! It looks really good on you, too. Purple seems to your color. I know this sounds corny, but purple really brings out your lovely eye color and shape, too.
I think I may plan on knitting you a matching scarf while I'm still laid up, if you like :)

I'm sorry about your kooky neighbors. They just never seem to let up with their annoying antics.

It just makes me grateful for our neighbors here. Noone is nosy or purposefully tries to take away anyone's privacy, and noone has junk cars or garbage piling up as an eyesore either.

In our mountains, the law is that all properties must be a minimum of 3 acres and homes and buildings must be at least 50 feet from property lines. That is a big help in maintaining privacy, I believe.
They also have laws about keeping junk cars only on commercial property, if it can be claimed as a business.
Does your town or county have any similar kind of laws?
I feel so bad for your situation. Iwish they could cut you a break and respect your privacy at least.

Enjoy your time with your furry critters and thanks for sharing that pretty photo of you wearing your new hat, my friend :)


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - Well, if you've got nothing to do except knit a scarf, I'd be more than happy to wear it. I don't want to impose, though. If you are on the mend and finding yourself needing to get caught up on chores, I totally understand.

The people who planned your living community had some sense. What I can't stand about my neighborhood is that most of the houses are on 1 to 10 acres, and the people who built the houses, built them all right up against each other at a point where all the corners meet. What were they thinking? I hope to someday own a much bigger acreage and build a house right smack in the middle of the land so that no one else can come along and build a window just a few feet outside my windows.

I had it on my list to look into local laws about limits on vehicles, but in the past few weeks my neighbors have removed two of the vehicles from their property, so I decided to leave them be. If anymore start showing up, then I will follow up on my research. The problem is that this is a small town and my neighbors are actually very well known, well liked people, so I doubt I'd get any support in enforcing any laws that they may be breaking.

Katharine Swan said...

Good grief NM, your neighbors are awful! You have such a delightfully dry sense of humor about it, though. I laughed out loud throughout most of your post.

Especially at this part:

Of course it doesn't explain why the wife will stand staring into the trunk of her car for hours while I'm outside working with the horses. The gas gauge isn't in the trunk.

Your poor horses. I'm sure your horses are interpreting it as mildly threatening (as they should -- it sounds almost as if your neighbors mean it that way, too), which is why they aren't getting accustomed to the sounds. And the guy hanging out at the fence watching you -- you are nicer than I am. I would have asked him if I could help him with something.