Horses and Cattle and Chickens…Oh my!

 

What a week we just had! Not only did we get to see some of our family but we saw family friends! It’s funny, on both my husband’s and my side of the family, we have a huge extended family and we love them. But we also have amazing friends who have been there in the best and worst of times and I’m pretty sure we’ve seen a bit of them all since we moved here in May. Love these people!

So early this week, we said hello to our uncles. They’re on a summer road trip to the Midwest and who can blame them? They live in Arizona, where the average temperature is 110F right now. That’s crazy talk. Up here, I’m all rosy-cheeked when the temperature hovers at 95. The benefit of living in the grasslands is that there isn’t much to block the wind in terms of trees. The heat is here but it isn’t THAT terrible because we get wind. So we live in pretty comfortable conditions and, when it’s too hot, we turn on the window unit. Small price to pay for the gorgeous night sky. OMG – the night skies are gorgeous! No light pollution means we get a view of the Milky Way almost every night…reminds me that there’s so much more to life than we know! Clayton Lake State Park is part of the International Dark-Sky Association, which means it’s dark (duh) and the star gazing is amazing! And there’s fish in the Lake, too, so you can have one heck of a time out there!

I digress, sorry. I do that.

The uncles continued on their amazing road trip and then our family friends stopped by on their way back home to South Texas and stopped in to see us! We had a blast because it turns out that they are horse people and we happen to have two horse summer residents. Clay and I asked to get saddled up and figure out the horses because, well, it’s been a while. Now, my mother-in-law is quite the horsewoman. When she and my father-in-law worked the ranch, they both rode and drove the cattle where they needed to go. I think that’s pretty cool to be able to work with another animal, but there’s always the chance that the horse doesn’t want to work nor wants to work with you. I know they (the horses, not the family friends) had names before they got here but a certain someone renamed them Elsa and Kristoff. The sad part is the child hasn’t watched Frozen in about 2 months. Yet everything is named Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, or Olaf. I’m actually forgetting pieces of the movie. That’s a huge deal!

Dang it, I digressed again. Back on point.

So we learned how to (re)ride horses. The last time I decided I could ride, the horse took off with me. After a few squeals of sheer terror, I enjoyed the sprint then somehow got that horse to slow down without falling off. We went home and I was done: that was about 13 years ago. Suffice it to say I’m not a horse kinda girl. Yet.

We learned a lot about riding…like how, especially with horses that aren’t well acquainted with you, that it doesn’t hurt them to walk them out a bit. Tired legs, ready to learn. It’s kind of like recess for kids. Let them move, get out the energy, and they can focus a little more in class. Not only did I ride, my husband, and my daughter, but my mother-in-law got up there, too! She said it was like riding a bike. A really tall, really heavy bike. I still prefer my green horse (the 4-wheeler) but at least the horse we rode is short, so falling means there’s less distance to the ground.

A new development on the chickens. The little ones are fat!!! Ok, not fat but getting bigger and more independent. I have one side of the coop open because I figure it’s futile to keep the future guineas in the coop. After they leave the brooder, they’ll eventually join the big girls but still be small enough to fit through the steel fence. Plus, they like to fly and roost, so why not just plan accordingly? Anyway, the 3 that came from Cruces with us like to get the older hens riled up. Since they are still small enough to fit through the steel fence and can still fly up to roost higher up, they come and go as they please. It’s funny to wake up at 7am and see the youngin’s, who pretty much are at the bottom of the pecking order, break out of Fort Clucks at will. When we let out the older hens, it’s clucktastic. Seriously, all kinds of talk. There’s one, Miss Laura, who follows me around waiting for the day’s treats. She won’t leave me alone until she knows for sure that I don’t have anything. But if I do, she’ll cluck at me and wait in the middle of their feeding bowl for whatever lucky snack I have. Some days it’s celery and grapes; other days it’s the ends of romaine lettuce. They love frozen grapes and watermelon, by the way. One time, we ate 1/2 of a watermelon but I saved the shell and froze water and grapes in it. It was hot and humid and I think that was the day they all decided that I was pretty cool. As much as a chicken can think a human can be cool.

After all the awesome visits, there was one more thing on our summer checklist that needed to be accomplished. We got a pool. A 15foot, above ground, circular container of endless summer happiness. I’ve always wanted a big pool but I’m not keen on sharing germs or doing endless maintenance. This fits the bill. It’s been a fantastic addition to our daily routine.

 

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