|Bully bunnies on the prowl.|
|My wild bunny Charity.|
News flash! Charity let me massage her body and she didn't run away. Up to this point, she's only let me stroke her face and get one quick pet in on her body as long as I only used one finger. As soon as she saw my hand unfolding, she'd hop away. I have gotten a few palm pets in, but not with her consent. I think she's been afraid that I will pick her up or swallow her with my whole hand. However, this morning she let me massage her firmly with all four fingers. I think she appreciated the warmth.
She's also been coming when I call, and if I hold my hand down close to the ground, she hops up to it and touches my fingers with her nose. I call it our greeting, but I know that in reality she is just smelling to see if I have anything good to eat in my hand.
When I went out to feed the horses this morning, I noticed Gabbrielle watching the cliff while on full alert. The other horses were huddled together with perturbed expressions. Lostine refused to go into her stall until I put hay in it. Then she would only run inside, snatch a mouthful, and run out of the barn snorting. Something scared her big time. I would think that Betsy the Bobcat has come around enough times that the horses are used to her. They hardly pay any attention to her, as is. There was a loose neighborhood dog in our yard yesterday, but it didn't bother the horses. I suspect they either saw javelina or a mountain lion. I can't think of much else in the way of wildlife that would get a reaction like that, unless there's some other animal I don't know about. We've never had deer venture into our yard, but I did find a deer skull and antlers in the arroyo.
As I've mentioned before, I have a friend who has been helping with the barn chores a couple of days a week, which I really appreciate, especially at the moment since my husband's back hurts and he's been splitting his time between his office and doing barn chores. I'm looking forward to giving my husband a break from it once I get the okay to start my usual physical activity. Every time I try lifting something heavy, I pay for it.
Anyway, my friend is plenty busy herself, but always so cheerful and happy to help. She tried to fit in a trail ride before coming over to do my barn chores, and some random lady stopped her to ask if she knew where someone lived or something. She said she didn't know, and the lady proceeded to tell my friend her life story. This is an ongoing joke with us. The community we live in is primarily a retirement area, and there are a lot of bored, lonely people who will bend your ear for hours if you let them. This is why I run and hide whenever I hear a vehicle coming up the street. It used to be the religious groups that I avoided, but now it's the lonely, chatty, retired folk. They literally just drive around looking for someone to talk to. That sucks for those of us who are busy.
Anyway, my friend finally got rid of that lady, set out for her trail ride, and then realized that there was no way that she could get back to her house in time to drive to my barn and clean up manure before dark. So, she rode her horse all the way over to my house again. It was so late that I had fed my horses and closed shop for the day. When I realized she was out there, I turned on some floodlights and porch lights so she could see what she was doing to some degree. I asked, "You're not planning on riding home in the dark, are you?"
She said no. She had called her husband to swing by with her horse trailer to pick them up. I was so proud of my horses for not getting overly excited to see her horse again. I think having food in front of them helped. She led her horse up the barn aisle to a water trough, and Gabbrielle tried flirting over the fence while Bombay pranced a bit, but Rock and Lostine couldn't care less. My friend's horse is such a great trail horse that it just followed her with its head down and didn't let my horses distract it. I held her horse while it ate some hay, and it was so relaxed. I felt like I didn't have to worry about it spooking into me or stepping on my foot. It was such pleasure to spend a little time with a horse who has a level head. He's almost duty-bound. It's like the horse understands that his job is to carry his rider to my barn so she can do her thing, and he just waits patiently for her to let him know what's next.
I often think about the days of the wild west where people relied upon horses for transportation. It must be so nice to have a horse you can hop on when you need to go somewhere, and all you have to worry about is if it has gas in the tank and fresh tires. Our backyard horses of today constantly need tune ups and training before we can actually go anywhere safely.
I forgot that there is one thing that's worse than the population explosion of winter visitors. It's the holiday visitors who come to stay with the winter visitors. I always know they are here because we get a bunch of extra barking dogs in the neighborhood that run around unsupervised, leaving piles of crap for me to clean up around my property. The air also becomes polluted with smoke from campfires and exhaust from off-road vehicles. I looked out the window to see all four horses alerting on the cliff in my back yard, and this is what I saw...
At least people are stopping at the road barrier now instead of hiking down the hill past my No Trespassing sign. Despite our efforts to block the trails down the hill with dead tree branches and a scattering of cholla balls, the wild animals have managed to carve new trails, which I'm sure some people will be more than happy to follow. But once they get down there, they will quickly discover that it wasn't worth their while, because the trees and bushes in the arroyo are so overgrown that they'd need a machete to get through.
My horses usually become daily entertainment for the holiday visitors. They make a habit of coming to my yard to watch them, as if the cliff in my back yard were a wildlife viewpoint. One of these days I'm going to get down on all fours and crawl around making snorting noises just to see how these people react. Ha ha!
If there's one thing I could change about my new home, it's that feeling of being in a fish bowl.
There are so many extra people here this fall that it took us three trips to two different grocery stores to find all the items we needed for our Thanksgiving dinner. The visitors are cleaning off the shelves so fast. It's ridiculous. I feel like I have to fight for my food. The other day I counted more Minnesota license plates in the grocery store parking lot than Arizona plates. We're also having to wait in lines that extend out the door of our favorite restaurant now. This is about the point where we just give up on eating in restaurants until May.
The other night someone set off a fireworks display that went on for half an hour. It looked like it was maybe two miles away. Midge went nuts. She could hear those explosions through her deafness. I went out to check on the horses, and Rock was standing in a corner quivering. No sooner did those fireworks stop, and someone just a quarter of a mile away in the other direction started popping off firecrackers and shooting something into the sky that was exploding. It's bad enough that we have to put up with this noise pollution on Independence Day and New Years, but now people are doing it for other celebrations as well.
I tried looking up online what the special occasion might be, and all it said was that it was National Toilet Day. Huh? I read the news, thinking that perhaps somebody important died, because some people in our country are getting so snarky and insensitive, I wouldn't put it past people to celebrate someone's passing, but there wasn't any significant news. I guess two neighbors had birthday parties on the same night? Or perhaps it was a case of "monkey see -- monkey do."