Thursday, May 20, 2010

I quickly changed out of my school clothes and put on my comfortable barn sweat shirt and pants. I then pulled on my winter coat and boots and headed out to the barn. We had just received a new dumping of fresh snow so as I walked I zigzagged looking behind me now and then to check out the trail I was leaving in my wake. Snow was magical when I was a kid. I just couldn't understand why it sent my mother into such a state of worrying. I called greetings to my horses who seemed to be enjoying the snow as much as I was. My old horse Devon found the largest drift he could and quickly sank down into it! You could almost see him smiling as he rolled back and forth, all four hooves flailing in the air, then his grunting as he tried to get himself free of the snow drift. He then sprung free of it with a big buck and with tail lifted he cantered over to the fence to see me as if to ask "Are you coming to play too?" I gave him a big pat and went into the barn. I grabbed the wire egg basket and a big stick that sat outside the henhouse, and then proceded to go feed the chickens and gather the eggs. Why the stick? Well, you see, Sir Henry ( the rooster) awaited some poor unsuspecting humans arrival within his domain of chickens. He was a mean brute. He'd wait until you had your back turned and then he'd come at your legs, neck stretched out, wings spread wide and the meanest looking eyes that seemed to glow with the depths of Hell right in them! I'd have to keep one eye on him and one eye on the eggs I was gathering so as not to break any. Quickly I escaped with a full basket of eggs and all skin intact. I grabbed the wheel barrel and pitch fork next. In the distance I could hear my Dad firing up the tractor readying it to blow the snow as well as my tracks, from the driveway. I emmersed myself with the chore of mucking out the horse stalls, removing the horse manure and bedding the stall down with fresh, knee deep straw. This would be the worst job in the world for some, but it gave me time to think of the days events and helped me relax while everything I loved about life surrounded me. The barn cats meowed at my feet, wanting their supper next, but first I had to dump my manure ladden down wheel barrow. The barn door was closed to try and keep the cold winter day out, so being somewhat lazy as all kids are, I grabbed the wheelbarrel handels and gave it a mighty shove against the barn door. That way I wouldn't have to stop and prop the door open. I could hear Dad on the tractor blowing the snow but I was concentrating so much on keeping the wheelbarrel upright without loosing any meadow muffins that I didn't look up to see what he was doing. Suddenly I was being attacked with a wall of pummeling white. It persistently hit my face so I was instantly blinded! I completly forgot my careful handling of the wheelbarrel and threw it aside, meadow muffins flying askew! My hands came over my face in instant defense mode trying to fend off my attacker! Suddenly all went quiet. I peeked out from behind my gloved snowy fingers, waiting for the next assault but all that greeted my eyes was my Dad trying to stay seated on the tractor because he was laughing so hard and slapping his knee that he almost fell off. "Gotchya again!" He hollered over the engine of the tractor and he proceeded on down the lane taking aim at the horses as he passed their paddocks, I'm sure he was chuckling all the way. I just didn't see the humor in it all as I wiped the snow from every oriface of my face and proceeded to refill my wheelbarrel with spilt meadow muffins. Once refilled I muttered paybacks all the way to the manure pile.
Today I think of these past memories and how much I miss them happening. Mom and Dad's farm hold many for me. Memories only a farm, its animals and great parents can give you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our First Gymkanna of 2010

The morning broke cold and cloudy, but at least it wasn't snowing with high winds that made you bend at the waist as you tried to walk outside in it. I quickly showered and dressed which is a feet in itself for me as I love a long hot shower to wake up. Quickly egg salade sandwiches are thrown together and packed in the cooler for our lunch while Don & Hailey pack up the trailer. Everythings loaded, except for Hunter who casually walks onto the trailer with hardly a flick of his tail. He knows this routine well and I'm sure briefly wonders where he'll end up today. I'm gone ahead with my car to pick up Tim Horton coffee's and make sure the gates are open. We arrive at the Minden Fairgrounds for our first gymkanna of 2010.

Trailers start to arrive, old aqaintances from last year give a big Hello to each other. Horses whinny from within their trailers and the unloading begins. Kids start grooming their horses and tacking them up while the horses munch noisily at their hay. Parents frantically register the kids and horses, hoping they enter them in the right classes or they know there'll be hell to pay when they get back to their trailer. The executive members of the Haliburton County Horsemen's club are busily setting up and getting things organised, but the cold weather and wind are now playing havoc with pens, flying papers and frozen fingers. Finally we're ready for the first class!

The day starts with pin the tail on the donkey for the youngest group of riders. Then the speed is turned on! Bays, chestnuts and paints are thrown into motion, muscles bunching and stretching over tight hides. The pounding of hooves fills the air while horse and rider try their turns at barrels, pole bending and other speed events throughout the day. Competitors are intense in the ring but once outside it, all are relaxed and hanging with their friends. Catching up on gossip or checking out someone's new horse or boyfriend. (or girlfriend, gotta make it fair) The sun is starting to peek out from behind the clouds and spectators and competitors alike are welcoming its warmth. Did I mention its also Mother's Day. What a great way to hang out with your kids. I was especially happy to see my son, who says he couldn't care a less about horses, take the time and come hang out with us! He also brought me Lindor chocolates! Time has gone by fast, even though at the beginning of the day it was so cold we thought it would never end! The sun is shinning brightly now as the last class of the day is run. Horses are once again tied to their trailers while kids untack and make sure the horses are cooled off enough to load. Proud parents are watching nearby and once again lots of cobitsing and teasing are evident amongst everyone. The executive breathe a sigh of relief because all their hard work has paid off. As the last horse is loaded and the trailers start to head for home the only thing left to do is tally up the points of each horse and rider and prepare for next months gymkanna in June. Hopefully we won't have to wear our winter coats and mittens to this next one!!