Thursday, December 10, 2009

Silly Girl

I'm using some pictures I took before the big snowfall to illustrate my story. It was 18 degrees below zero yesterday morning and I could not even put a dent in the ice of the water troughs that didn't have de-icers. I only have two electrical outlets that don't allow adapters or power strips, so only two water troughs are usable.

That's a problem, because I have three horses in three expensive horse blankets, so I have to keep them separated in order to avoid having them rip each others blankets. That means two horses get water while one gets unbreakable ice. I've been dealing with this by rotating two of the horses every two hours into different pens. In the meantime, we are carrying buckets of hot water out to the icy troughs every chance we get.

Gabbrielle stands in the back pen and at the end of the day I herd her up the RV lane, through the paddock gate, and into her stall. She has the furthest to travel. I've been working on trying to guide the horses to where I want them to go without using a halter and lead rope. Instead, I just use my arm to point and my voice to encourage movement.

With Lostine, I don't even have to ask. I just open her stall and she runs in. With Bombay, I usually just need to cluck my tongue and he knows what I want. Gabbrielle, on the other hand, has to make a game out of everything. She's such a kid.

She usually gallops into the paddock and races all over the place jumping, bucking, and throwing her head around, so happy to be back in her favorite space. Because she's been locked up in the back pen all day, she worries that she's missing out on something in the paddock. So, once she reaches the paddock, she has to traverse all corners, lick the salt block, and buzz past Lostine and Bombay as they have their heads hanging out of their stall windows as if saying, "Look at me! I'm free and you are not!"

Of course, Lostine and Bombay don't care. They just want to eat their dinner and go to sleep in a dry box.

I point to her stall, and Gabbrielle stops, thinks, lets out a snort, and takes off running again like a child refusing to go to bed. At first this behavior annoyed me, but then I started looking forward to it. I actually joined her in her romp through the snow. We ran together up and down the fence line. She snorted. I laughed. Then when I was ready to go back inside the house, I pointed at her stall and stomped my feet.

Gabbrielle's eyes got really big and off she went at a full gallop straight into her stall. Now that we have an agreement that she can spend a few minutes playing before bedtime, she's much more willing to cooperate when I ask her to hit the sack.

A funny thing happened today. I was talking to my mother on the phone when I looked outside and saw Gabbrielle rubbing the side of her blanket on the fence. I opened the sliding glass door and stood in the doorway continuing my conversation with my mother while watching Gabbrielle rub back and forth.

Suddenly I remembered that Bombay had broken that fence panel the day before and I hadn't had time to repair it, so Gabbrielle was probably going to get her blanket caught on the nails. I yelled, "GET OFF THE FENCE!"

She paused, looked at me, turned in the other direction and began rubbing her other side. Again I yelled, "GET OFF THE FENCE!"

She paused, but didn't move away, then rubbed back and forth again. I picked up a rock and chucked it at the metal gate, which made a clang, and she finally moved away. It was then that I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and jumped out of my skin to find some stranger standing in my neighbor's backyard at the point where my property meets her property and my nosy neighbors' property. The woman was staring at me. I did a double-take and she just continued to stare at me. All these thoughts were running through my head...

"How long has she been standing there?"

"Did she overhear my phone conversation with my mother?"

"Who the hell is she?"

"Where did she come from?"

"No one ever goes into that neighbor's backyard."

"She must be a friend of my neighbor, but my neighbor isn't home."

"Was she petting or feeding my horses?"

"Why does she keep staring at me?"

Then I remembered that I had yelled, "GET OFF THE FENCE!" and she was standing at the fence. She probably thought I was yelling at her. Then I started worrying that she would report me for animal abuse for throwing a rock at my horse, not knowing that I wasn't aiming for my horse, but was aiming for the metal gate. Then I thought, "This lady is probably trespassing, so what happens in my backyard is none of her business anyway."

I walked back in the house and shut the door, trying to keep an eye on the woman to figure out which house she came from. She stood at the fence a while longer looking out into my nosy neighbor's backyard. She seemed to be studying their illegal addition to their barn and all the junk they had piled up back there. She then grabbed their fence and started shaking it. I wondered if she was a building inspector. Better yet, perhaps she was a real estate agent helping them put a price on the property and advising them how to clean it up and stage it.

My mother was just telling me that if she had the money, she would pay those neighbors cash to get them out of the neighborhood, and then we could bulldoze the house and use the land to let the horses roam. I told her that if they ever put their house up for sale, I'm seriously going to look into buying it just to prevent any more problem neighbors from moving in there.

So, if the woman were a real estate agent assessing the property, the timing couldn't be more perfect. It just would be nice if I had a job I loved before committing to another monthly payment. There was a time when we were considering buying that property so that my mother could move in next door, but my mother really didn't want to move and the house just had too many problems. It's always been a fixer-upper despite being owned by two construction workers in a row. Nobody can ever seem to finish the job. All I know is that the day a FOR SALE sign goes up on that property is the day I will be throwing a major party.


Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

When our kids were small (they're 40 and 38 now) and it was time to go to bed, we would say, "OK, you have five more minutes to play and then it's time to go to bed." There was something about knowing that they could still play for five more minutes and then they would usually go to bed without much trouble. So, I guess horses and kids aren't too much different.


KD said...

Love the story about you running and playing with Gabbrielle and your analogy of her as a child.

Boy, do you ever get peace without a nosy neighbor or stranger nearby?

fernvalley01 said...

I am thinking you are very calm ,I would have had a heart attack seeing a stranger over my back fence!I guess they have you desensitized
word verf extra (extra property?)

lytha said...

ach was fuer eine geschichte! i mean, what a story! this was one that i wanted popcorn for, but alas, there is not a kernel of corn in this house, (except baasha's, and i cannot pop that), and it's 11:30 at night here in germany.

your mom is so sweet. it's good to know she's with us in the everlasting dismay we feel about your neighbors.

and gabbrielle sounds pretty tough, like bad weather doesn't get to her. my horse spent the entire day in his stall hiding from the rain, and the door is open, and he has a waterproof blanket! it was nasty though, coming down sideways.

we heard a news report this morning that you guys are having terrible weather. i think it's odd that we get that in the news. that and the thing about bank of view of my homeland is so limited from here.


Katharine Swan said...

The "GET OFF THE FENCE" story was the best! I wish it had been your nosy neighbor, though. That would have been even funnier.

Sadly, if they were putting the property up for sale the agent probably wouldn't have been looking at it through the fence... But that means it's still a mystery who that woman was!

Paint Girl said...

18 degrees below zero? Now that is cold! And here I am complaining about working outside when it is only 10 degrees!
Your horses sure are silly!
Very strange about that woman lurking around. If she was some type of building inspector, I would think she would have said something to you, since you yelled at your horse, she then knew you were there. That would be awesome if that place went up for sale, and hopefully you could buy it, or if someone else did, they would be NORMAL!!! :)

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Lostine is really, really looking good! Her color is lightening up a lot, isn't it?

You must live in the nosiest neighborhood in the world!! Poor you!!
Sometimes, I even forget that I have neighbors!

Shirley said...

You do live in a weird neighborhood.... those are just lovely photos of Gabrielle!

Breathe said...

I personally think anything below zero should be illegal. I mean, come on! What use is that?

Gabrielle has such a zest for life! Inspiring (glad you can get her to bed, though.)!

I think we'll ALL have a party in blog land when that house goes up for sale. As for being owned by construction folks, I suspect you are dealing with the cobbler's shoeless children syndrome...

Andrea said...

You really have the strangest folks live and visiting around you! Oh the stories you have!! LOL, I love the idea of what she was thinking!! ha ha ha!!! How weird that she was shaking the neighbor's fence!! Really weird!! But hooray if they are going to move!!!!