Friday, December 31, 2010

The Good, The Bad, The Holiday Season

I hope you experienced a wonderful time with your family and friends over the holiday!  We had a very, very nice Christmas together but tragedy knows no seasons.  It doesn't know that nothing sad should happen in December.  Don't worry, nobody passed, no funerals were attended and nobody got sick and a lot of wonderful moments were had, but the stain of sadness was experienced during my month of December.

I could tell I felt better about the season this time; you see it will be almost three years since Dad passed in February of 2008 and Christmas at our farm was the last time I saw him.  No matter how hard I had tried, I wasn't the same but this year felt better for some reason.  Snow stayed on the ground early this year, the weather was cold and it was so much fun decorating the house and finding really good gifts for my family and friends!

Now that we live on a farm I am no longer thrilled when the holiday season arrives.  Don't get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving, I love Christmas and I love being with my family, but I do not love when the killing season begins and for us it starts the week of Thanksgiving and goes on and on for several weeks. In fact, I just heard shots today across the river and up the hill and sadly shook my head.  I prayed very hard that my bucks would escape injury and death and come back home to me.
Little Autumn Boy, will be safe from harm?
I had lunch with a horsey friend December 23rd.  I was so excited to give them their gifts.  One was a signed copy of 'Secretariat'!  My friend and her mom are fabulous and I have known them for years.  Jessie and my friend's gelding, Cyrano, were in love back in the day when we all used to board together.  When we changed barns, I requested Jessie to be stalled beside Cyrano so they could peak at each other through the spaces between the boards.   Cyrano and Jessie would travel together those days when we trained in Lexington even though we were not at the same riding level. Cyrano had a majestic look to him. He was very elegant and regal.  I believe his whithers stood 17 hands tall.  He and my friend were a perfect match and competed all the way up the levels to Bromont International ***CCI.   Every time I saw her or we spoke on the phone, I asked about him.  Cyrano mysteriously broke his hind leg later that day.  It was dangling and my friend who works for an equine vet knew it was the end and fed him as much grain as he wanted.  Thankfully Cyrano didn't seem to be in pain and ate as though nothing was wrong.  Thankfully the vet got there within 45 minutes and laid him to rest.  Rest in peace dear Cyrano, although you were not mine, I still loved you and my tears flow for you as I type...
Cyrano was the tall dark bay on the right
Speaking of friends the day before Christmas the good husband calls and asks who decorated the gate.  What in the world was he talking about?  I asked my family members and thought one of the younger ones was fibbing when she told me no...nobody decorates our gate.  I certainly didn't decorate our gate! I grabbed my camera and told the good husband to hold tight so I can see first hand.  Oh my...was I in for a sweet surprise!  I saw little cans of cat food dancing across the entire lane attached with twine, two red stockings at the latch with bundles of carrots at each gate end and so many fuzzy red and green mini stockings with each of our baby's name written on the fur.  How cute is that?  Little tears drizzled down my cheeks as I read the note from a young friend who also rides and has farm sat for us.  How considerate, how thoughtful and how original!  I was so happy and so pleased that she even thought that much of me to give my babies these gifts!  Thank you dear M! That was my favorite gift!

Christmas morning was perfect.  While everyone was in the bed, I began prepping for the delicious dinner.  The old traditional southern cornbread and pecan stuffing was made, the 18-pound turkey was cleaned and rubbed with special spices and gently put in the oven. Stockings and gifts were opened and everyone was happy.  Two of my guests came back from a walk a few hours later and I learned something was wrong with one of my deer in the final hour of the cooking.  The stuffing was just stirred and turned, the home grown green beans and onions were simmering, sweet potato swirls with their brown sugar topping were slowly cooking and rolls were just popped in the oven with the mashed potatoes warming by their side. I left it all and went outside.
I am uncomfortable showing him injured...this was last November.
My dear Bossy's Boy wobbled precariously side to side with legs that looked ready to break any minute. In shock, I just stood there and watched, trying to determine what was wrong.  It was his back or hips.  Either his hips were dislocated or a bone was broken somewhere in that area.  I think it is the hip but nothing stuck out, the tail wiggles and there are times when a step is made that doesn't look awful but invariably the snow causes a fall.  I was heartbroken.  What in the world do I do? Dad always said 'do not play God'...but I think Dad would have shot him.  I fed him corn, mixed with Blue's grain with some banamine.  He ate it.  The others left him alone but his mother Bossy was near.  I stayed out there a long time just watching.  I have come to the conclusion that he was hit by a car.  He was home for good the week before and I was elated that he had survived another killing season.  Then he was gone for a week and now this....Christmas is supposed to be happy not full of worry and concern.
January 2009 he came home with an arrow stuck in his side. This was taken 9/2010
I fed and cleaned stall as usual two mornings later.  The snow still blanketed the farm, the pond was still frozen and on my walk back up the driveway I noticed a large dark looking fox scampering up the hillside and into the thickets.  Funny, I haven't seen my foxes for months and for some reason this summer, fall and now winter, I haven't seen my groundhogs, possums nor my raccoons who always would hang around for some leftover kernels.  I spotted some trespassers on the tracks and took their photos. This was the second day in a row they walked past the farm which I didn't care for so I trekked up Cardiac Hill to get a bird's eye view and snapped more photos and found out where they lived.  In this day and age, one never knows what is on the minds of strangers.  But before I saw them go into their house, I saw this....

Oh no, I feared this for a long long time.   For the first time since we owned the farm I heard the howling around the hill and at the edge of the farm at midnight sometime in October. I saw one in the fall just above the house while Sammy and I were in the driveway and I yelled at it so Beauty could have more time to escape. The coyote was not in hot pursuit and stopped to look at me and Sam for several seconds and then trotted off.  Thankfully Sam did nothing.  Unfortunately I haven't seen Beauty for some time now.  I called a hunting friend who was supposed to come and seemed eager to hunt the coyote but each morning he came up with an excuse not to show up.  Sigh....
With Bossy's Boy in poor condition I am extremely concerned.  But so far so good.  He doesn't come around each evening but I have seen him two times since Christmas the last time being yesterday.  When I thought his walk improved somewhat, he would slide and fall.  Now the snow is gone but slippery mud remains.  I read on a deer farm forum that broken bones heal and I have seen three deer overcome broken legs and I did read that a fawn broke its hip which healed as well so for now, I will wait and see.  I hate that he doesn't come daily so he can receive his banamine.  I hate that I didn't see him tonight.  I hate that he got injured after escaping from more arrows and bullets.
Happier days, Bandit, Bossy's Boy and little Buttons 9/2010
Wonder if my little Buttons survived leaving the farm?
The last of my guests left yesterday after a week's stay.  I miss them but they are home safe.  It was good to have my family visit the farm and celebrate Christmas, it is a blessing to have friends and to know you are thought of, it was good that I survived falling down the curved staircase three weeks ago with only bruises (yes that did happen!) it is good that our animals are fine and seem healthy and best of all it is good that my husband is by my side and we are fine.  But it is bad that Cyrano is gone, Bossy's Boy can barely walk and the coyotes have decided that my land is their prime food source.  It is bad that Daddy is no longer with us and that Mom continues to be severally depressed after three years.  But the New Year will soon be here and we have so much to be thankful for.  Whether good or bad, I am thankful for life's lessons and thankful that overall we had a wonderful holiday season!  Happy New Year and may you experience good health and the love and warmth of family and friends!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Copper Cow from Kentucky

Yes! I finally found time to travel to Shelbyville, Kentucky and visit the breathtaking Wakefield Scearce Galleries.  It has been literally over a decade since I dragged the good husband down to see this fabulous collection of shops and if I remember correctly most were closed since it was a Sunday. 
I had a truck load of fresh timothy piled high so I parked away from all of the clean, nicely polished cars lined perfectly in the crowded parking lot.  I didn't care that I was dressed in jeans and a horsey jacket not to mention wearing simple loafers covered with a layer of hay dust.  I was so excited to finally be able to visit this gorgeous place once again.  All of the ladies both young and old were dressed very well and several were adorned with obedient and enthusiastic husbands in tow.  I couldn't help but wonder why my husband doesn't get excited while viewing Christmas ornaments displayed on a wall.
Filled with anticipation to visit The Yule Shop,  I had visions of finding unique holiday decorations no where else to be found.  Sigh...It was a cute shop and I did find a tree that caught my eye, but nothing stood out.  A half of a tree mind you planted in a plastic urn with a price tag of a whole tree planted in an iron urn.  I told the lovely ladies at the check out that I would think about it while I paid for my little pony and fox glass ornaments.  If I leave a shop and I am not 'haunted' by the recent find while finishing my other shopping, then it isn't going home with me.  That is my little rule.  We shall see...

I breezed through the silver shop as I wanted to see what areas we missed so many years before.  To once again gaze upon the pastoral oil paintings proudly displayed along the second floor balcony that I couldn't afford was simply awe inspiring.  Wonder if they went down in price?  We are in a recession, one can always be hopeful!  Oh the paintings would be so happy if they found a home on our walls.  Gentle rolling fields, cool green tree lined lanes, woolly sheep, steers, horses, barn yard scenes, chickens, dogs, just perfect for this farm girl.  A rich farm girl that is....darn!!

The interiors of these galleries are simply breathtaking!  Three floors of intimate settings were waiting for me to explore!  Bedrooms, dining rooms, and even a study, completely furnished and decorated as though you were touring an old historic home.  All of these cozy areas are filled with English antiques and accessories. I noticed some rooms offered a themed decor. Oils framed in gold hung on the walls, porcelain lamps softly light the corners, and tasteful floral arrangements could be found everywhere.  Orientals, pillows, mirrors, you name it, they all had little white price tags tempting either the serious or the curious.  I believe the beautiful window treatments were the only items that would remain within galleries.

I saw so many little things I wanted but nothing grabbed me...until I peeked into a brightly lit but sparse room, so unlike the others, that housed rolled rugs with some just thrown here and there. This seemed to be a storage room, but wait!! What is this?   Ah, look how she shines so patiently waiting for me to look at her. Ugh, her price was a bit high for this country girl from West Virginia.  But I wanted her!!! So, off I went to find an attendant to ask if a discount could be had. 
Oh no...I was advised by a nice attractive lady that I had to speak with the general manager or owner, I wasn't sure if I heard the gentleman's title as I could only think of this thin copper cow.  Inwardly chastising myself I thought if only I had dressed better or put on some makeup and or better yet something sweet to cover up the ode d' barn...these silly notions danced around my poor head as I waited for him to magically appear.  Oh yes, of course he looks like that, I thought...perfectly coiffed, with I am sure some cashmere or silk woven in his sportscoat.  OK here goes...I did it!  It wasn't the price I was after but it helped a lot.  He did admit she was up there for some time which was very obvious to me.  She was so out of place! I promised him that she would be fattened up once she stayed awhile in my kitchen.  He probably thought I was crazy!    ;-)  Thank you Mr. Bennett, it was nice of you to help me out.
On my way out I stopped in the W. Cromwell men's clothing shop and found some perfect gifts for the good husband.  I was advised by one of those 'enthusiastic' men I had spotted earlier that the shirt I had chosen was a great choice.  He wears them all the time.  Hmmm, I wonder if this shirt will turn my man into an obedient and enthusiastic husband who likes Christmas shopping for ornaments?  One can only hope!