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Copyright 2011 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

 

April 2011 Issue  

 

 

     The time in the spring has come when I no longer have to look at the clock in the barn and think, “I need to move the tall ladder, so I can climb up there and set the clock back an hour.”

     Yes, folks, I waited long enough and the clock was already set ahead one hour… magically … kind of. It’s a large clock, at least one-foot in diameter, with really big numbers. That’s just so I don’t have to squint or wear glasses to see it.

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     Last week, I couldn’t find my barn gloves. For every day use, I like cotton gardening gloves with the nubbies on the underside of the fingers and palms. When the nubbies wear thin, I know it’s time to buy another pair.

     I’ve got quite the glove collection, you know. I’ve got heavy leather gloves for handling hay, and elkskin gloves for riding, and warm gloves for cold weather. But these light brown gloves have been really handy for feeding and coiling up hoses. And I couldn’t figure out where I had misplaced them.

     I was in the barn when I noticed my mare in the stall, gripping something in her teeth and shaking it up and down. My first reaction was to panic with a “What is that?” But then I recognized one of the missing gloves. It had been trampled under several piles of manure, and I laughed at the mare’s antics as she played with it.

     Although I searched, I did not find the glove’s mate until the next day, in surprisingly the same area. It, too, had been well camouflaged. The pair spent the night in a bucket of soapy water, and have been restored to almost new condition… minus a few nubbies.

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     It seems that everyone’s got one. Perhaps you do, too. Ours is a black-and-white neighborhood tom cat that is so stealthy about his comings and goings, Rick named him Zorro.

     He boldly began using our doggie doors to come into the house and help himself to the cat food in the feeder on the counter. He is not welcome, since he has beaten up our house cats. When we leave the house, we slide in the panel to close the doggie door so he can’t enter. We are aided in this endeavor by our large note to ourselves: “Close Zorro Door!”

     He has a large territory, living a quarter mile to the south of us and scavenging the outbuildings on the three places to the north. We see him lurking through the fields, slipping through the tall grasses along the fencelines, and looking pretty darned fat.

     There are times we have arrived home, driving into our yard, and found him on our front porch, lined up with the other cats, sunning himself and looking quite contented.

     We are always surprised to see him near our house, since we have let him know on multiple occasions that he is blackballed. Our little dog recognizes him as she peers out our windows and goes nuts barking when she sees him. Often, it is in the first cold, gray light of dawn as he slinks through our horse corrals and her piercing barks are so expressive, we know she’s barking at something.

            We have a grudging admiration for Zorro, who, if not much else can be said for him, is a survivor. A month will go by and we’ll think that a hawk or a car finished him off, but then we’ll see him, edging around our garden, southbound and moving like he owns the place!

 

 

Copyright 2011 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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