THIS HERE’S MY HORSE….’GATOR’
Thought for sure I would be feeling a little stiff this morning after yesterdays raking & wheelbarrowing over at Belle's Silverado Ranch. But, I was good to go & the joints didn't feel too bad. But, that was this morning!! It is now the end of my second day & I can tell if I don't have a can of WD-40 beside my bed in the morning I won't be creaking anywhere.
Nice 20 minute drive this morning paralleling the Mule mountains on my way to the Silverado Ranch. Upon turning onto the Bisbee/Douglas highway I could see for 30 or 40 miles down into the Sulphur Springs Valley to the Mexican border & beyond. Douglas & Agua-Prieta were under a fog bank of sorts but the distant Mexican mountains indicated where the 2 border towns adjoined each other.
Cindy was just coming out of their 5th wheel as I parked the car. She had indicated in an email Monday night that they would be moving on either to-day or Wednesday so I made sure I got to the ranch on the early side. Dave was away scouting another possible paying job in the area & we didn't end up seeing him until mid afternoon. Cindy explained the procedure for feeding all the critters which consist of about 20 donkeys, 15 horses, & an assortment of geese, peacocks, pheasants, 3 dogs, chickens, roosters, & a bunch of resident pigeons. Between the two of us we figured out how to start the John Deere Gator & we were off to load up some bales of hay. I had never driven a Gator & I could tell Cindy was more comfortable with her driving anyway so she lined the Gator up beside the hay wagon while I climbed up & dropped the bales into the back.
CINDY TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO START THE GATOR……. I WASN’T MUCH HELP:((
We went down between the line of horse pens & she showed me how to break the bales into loaves & how many loaves per horse goes into the corral. Quite a mathematical science she had worked out there. Checked all the water bins as we moved along as well & some containers had to be filled. When we fed the miniature donkeys we noticed one little fellow apart from the rest in a laying down sitting position. Well, neither one of us being very wise in the ways of the west, we immediately figured the little fellow was in trouble. While Cindy headed off to get some water I climbed the fence, went over to the donkey & seated myself on the ground beside him with my arm around him talking softly telling him everything was going to be fine. Cindy was back with the water & handed it through the fence but he didn't want any. Next she handed me a handful of hay through the fence & by the time I turned around the little guy was up & moving around with the other fellows. Of course they completely surrounded me wanting that little bit of hay in my hand & within seconds the hay was all gone & I didn't have a clue who the fellow on the ground was because they all look like clones of each other. We kept an eye on the pen the rest of the day & aside from a few rolling dust baths the whole gang looked perfectly normal. Even the one we thought was sick, whichever one he was. I can see I'm going to have put name tags on everybody for sure. Sure felt like an eastern Dude that's for sure. But hey, we northeasterners got some pretty tricky stuff waiting for you southwesterners up there too you know.
LINING UP THE GATOR TO DROP SOME HAY IN THE BACK
There's a lot of water hoses everywhere & that took us a little figuring to get them moved around to various watering stations but we did 'get er done.' I continued my clean up project in the driveway area while Cindy worked away at raking the grounds around the bird pens. Between the two of us we managed to come up with many piles of 'stuff.' By this time I was as skilled on that Gator as Mario Andretti was in his race car as I maneuvered around here & there picking up the piles. Had a big red tub on the back of the Gator & that's where I shoveled & pitchforked things into. When it was two thirds full I drove towards the back of the property, picked out a spot & started a fertilizer manure pile. Took me a lot of grunting & groaning to get the huge tubs of stuff tipped up & overturned onto the growing pile but the system worked & besides, the exercise felt great.
FILLING UP A WATER CONTAINER
Belle has decided to split the donkey herd & move half of them into another pen area so I spent about an hour with my rakes & shovel cleaning that pen out. Cindy, in the meantime had more piles for me to load & the afternoon went along very well. When donkey or horse droppings (Jerry calls em road apples) remain on the ground long enough they break down into a fine grass like substance that is very light & blows easily in the wind. I found that out early on when facing into the wind I picked up a healthy scoop of dried flaky droppings & swung the shovel around to drop it in the big red tub. The wind picked it right of the shovel & deposited the whole load right in my face. Lesson learned right there & then thankyou very much!!
LAST LOAD OF THE DAY
In between Gator loads I sometimes dropped into the house to see how Belle was doing. The 2 sweet little tea cup Chihuahuas were racing around like a couple of manic magpies on steroids & Belle was glued to her computer. I sit down & we chat for a few minutes. We talk about the ranch, the cast of characters coming & going, & life in general sometimes. She expresses her worry about me outside working when I don't have to & I assure her I am having a great time.....which I really am. These past 2 days have been a couple of the best days I've had in a very long time. It feels great to be actually doing something physical again & I'm sure it is going to be great for my weight problem. I enjoy the type of work mainly because I work alone & at my own pace. What a great feeling it has been driving home these past 2 days feeling so physically tired & so mentally alive. The thought that I am actually doing something useful for a change is sooooooo rewarding for me. Not to worry Belle, I am having a great time learning about the ways of the west. How many other 65 year old guys would have a chance like this to finally live his boyhood dream of being a rootin tootin cowboy. Heck, one of these days I may even get myself up onto a horse....D'ya think:))
Oh, & who was my favorite cowboy when I was a little feller.....Hopalong Cassidy & his big white horse Topper of course. Had big black Hoppy hat & shirt plus necktie.........Yaaaay Odel:))
GROANER'S CORNER:(( At his 103rd birthday party, my grandfather was asked if he planned to be around for his 104th "I certainly do," he replied. "Statistics show that very few people die between the ages of 103 and 104."
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