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Copyright 2008 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

Dog Hair & Mule Sweat

with Natalie Riehl

editor@rockymountainrider.com

 

October 2008 Issue

 

      These past five evenings, we have been treated to an extended full moon. We had two evenings when a huge moon appeared on the eastern horizon just about sundown. Aha! I thought, the full moon. Then I discovered that the official full moon was on the third night — a night filled with balmy air and startling silhouettes as the rising moon backlit a Ponderosa pine close by. And I don’t have any complaints about the whole-disc quality of the moon the two nights beyond that.

      Even though the days have been exceptionally warm, I made sure I covered my tomatoes and peppers on all the “nights of the full moon.” It didn’t freeze. Luckily, I had covered them the week before when temperatures close to frost sank upon the vegetable beds just before sunup. Only some leaves on the zucchini seemed to be scorched by the frost. Talk of zucchini reminded us that you can’t give them away at this time of year and of the old joke about people leaving a zucchini by a neighbor’s door, ringing the doorbell, and running away!

      Are we on the path to that vigorous and long, cold winter that I know a lot of people have been wishing for ten or fifteen years? A winter of a bygone era? The fantasy winter of snow and subzero temps that will de-populate the state by half? It hasn’t happened yet, although when my horses began to shed out in mid-August, it brought a “Hmm?” to my lips.

      Ms. Petunia, my mule, has fuzzed up, which may keep her warm on those nights when I’m covering the garden, however, it is a detriment on days when the temps creep into the eighties. She’s quick to sweat when I get the opportunity to ride, so we take a lot of breathers. That’s when she takes the opportunity to nibble on some autumn-colored underbrush.

 

      I have a desk job that requires my sitting most of the day. My only opportunity for some exercise comes at the end of the day when I get home and can do chores like moving the irrigation sprinklers or cleaning stalls and corrals. (Wa-Hoo!)

      In the summer, I can take my time to accomplish these chores and luxuriate in the daylight which lasts past a reasonable bedtime. Now, when I get home from the office at my usual time, the sun has set and dusk’s shadow is upon the land.

      Yesterday evening, we chored around outside — draining irrigation pipes and garden hoses, picking tomatoes, pulling carrots — and when we came inside it was almost eight o’clock. The daylight was gone and it was only eight o’clock! The sad reality of “longer nights” is dawning on me, as it does every year (like it’s a surprise…), and soon the ditch will be shut off and the grasses will brown. It’s my annual whine!

 

        Our hats are off to the many, many RMR readers who have either called our office or written us about our September article, “Left for Dead.” Thank God most   of us horse-loving human beings know aberrant behavior when we see it. And thank God so many of you are willing to speak up and voice your opinions strongly!

      Animals that we have undertaken to care for should not have to suffer from “human-centric” behavior. And, let us never forget that we are all God’s creatures.

Copyright 2008 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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