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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

 

May 2011 Issue  

 

 

     Sometimes I find it, and sometimes I don’t. I am talking about the “magic string” on a bag of feed, bedding or fertilizer where the sack is stitched at the top.

     The location of this magic string is easier to find if the bag is facing toward me, and I go for the right side. However, this becomes a problem when I can’t tell which side of the bag is the “right” side.

     I’ll snip off the end of the woven micro-strings and try to find the exact one that, when I pull, easily opens the whole bag…which is nearly as impossible as winning the lottery.

     I can picture the guy operating the stitching machine, laughing demonically with his voice booming, “She’ll never find the right string! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

     I hate to give in quickly to the temptation of simply cutting the top of the bag, and feel compelled to try to find the magic string. What stubborn streak makes me try to “find the solution to the puzzle”? Is it the sheer satisfaction I feel when the bag opens effortlessly upon pulling the correct string?

     Fortunately, for my patience, I sometimes purchase sacks that have the thin paper strip one can pull to open them.

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     As I write this, it’s the middle of April and we’ve already mown the lawn in spite of freezing nights which have zapped the spring flowers in our garden.

     The water is supposed to be turned on in the irrigation ditch by the first of the month, and I’m hoping it will be since the irrigation company told me that they had unexpected repairs to do to the Hedge Ditch, which is sloughing where it’s not supposed to.

     When we burned the dead grass along the ditch, I was surprised to find we collected a grocery sack’s worth of plastic bottles littering that short stretch next to the road. I don’t understand why some people feel it’s okay to throw their trash out the window, when it’s really so easy to throw it away in a trash can at a gas station.

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     It’s the time of year to take a warm afternoon — provided we get a break from the snow flurries — and clean my saddles and tack. I like to use the extra strong nozzle on the hose to blast the sweat off my saddle blankets and cinches on the concrete driveway, and I’ll use a hand brush to scrape off loose hairs. Then I’ll hang them over the rail fence to dry.

     I prefer to spread my bridles, breast collars, britchings and saddle parts out on a patch of lawn when I clean and oil them. The grass does a good job of buffering contact with dust, and keeps them cleaner while the oil soaks in, preferably under sunlight.

     I don’t believe there is any easy way to clean dirty tack. If the undersides of my fenders are encrusted with dried sweat and dirt, I have found the only way to adequately clean them is to use warm water, saddle soap, a brush and old-fashioned elbow grease. …And, in this case, I’ve found that lawn provides a friendly cushion for one’s knees.

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     My name for May is the “Month of Leaves.” At the beginning of the month there are no leaves, and by the end of the month, trees and shrubs are in full summer leaf. We could call it a short spring!

      Enjoy the transition into summer…

 

 

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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