Friday, August 26, 2011

Shy Coni Fadda April 28 1980-August 23 2011


   My heart is broken, a raw wound inside of my chest, I lost my sweet Coni on Aug 23, after too short of a battle for her life.  This is our story:

       On a bright Sunday morning in 1980, my mare Peni Fadda was heavy with foal.   I checked her before heading to church ( it was my sister's confirmation Sunday) and low and behold, Peni was waxed up!  I couldn't wait to get home from the service thinking I would see a baby that I had waited so long for!  After church I scrambled out to the barn, no foal... I brought Peni inside to a nice clean box stall my grandpa and I had fashioned just for this occasion.  No sooner had I put her inside and Peni went immediately into labor.  Soon a perfect chestnut filly was born!  Coni had tons of visitors that day since everyone was eager to see the newborn foal, ( I think this is why she liked people so very much, all that socialization...)  Coni was named in honor of her birthdate, Confirmation.... who knew??
   Every morning before school, I would head up to the barn to let Peni and Coni out on the lawn for some grazing,  Coni loved to run and buck and jump and drive her mamma nuts with her antics. 
    Her formative years were fairly uneventful,  I trained her to drive as a 2 yr old, and started her under saddle as a 4 yr old, she was a dream to ride, so smooth so energetic...  We spent a lot of time just riding around the neighborhood.
    In 1988 before moving to another city many miles from home, my little brother and I went on an adventure, our parents hauled our horses and all our supplies to a local state park 16 miles from home, we camped out for the weekend, enjoyed the time with our horses.  We took them swimming and then trail rode until evening, then after bedding them down would make our supper and sleep in our little pup tent.  We packed up our supplies and headed for home at the end of our weekend,  it was a very long ride for a little 7 yr old boy, and by the end he was completely beat, but we did it!  Our grand adventure!
     I rode Coni on many trail rides put on by our local saddle club, and one of the old timers there told me they were taking bets to see how long I would be able to stay on my horse, see Coni had developed some of her mother's habits, she didn't like the reins held too tight and would shake her head in this little temper tantrum whenever it happened.  She never liked to just walk on the trail, she was always jigging, and I didn't know any better than to just let her do it.  It didn't matter, Coni was always safe for me to ride and didn't buck me off so I don't know who won the bet...
      Our saddle club also rode in many parades in those days as a precision drill team,  Coni was only allowed to participate in practice since there were so many riders at that time, that our abilities were not  needed.  She learned the drill though and we were always available to "pinch hit" on the chance that someone would be unable to attend a parade.

    Coni was my friend and solace growing up, many times throughout high school when I was feeling friendless, all I had to do was go over to Coni and she would stand by me and allow me to cry my hurt feelings out on to her mane.  Oh she always smelled so wonderful!!!  That special scent only my good friend carried... I can almost smell it now..

     One of our many trail rides together just she and I led to another adventure, we were riding alongside a county highway, when along came some of my partying friends, they were roadtripping and offered me a beer, what a nice treat after riding for miles... I learned that Coni did NOT like the sound a can makes when you breathe into it before taking a drink ( you know the sound?  that faint tinny whistle?).  Needless to say, the beer and I parted company quickly, but I stayed on my horse!

   Coni and I were riding fence one spring day checking to make sure the fence was intact ( the horses lived in a 25 acre pasture), when we had to cross a creek that ran through our pasture, somehow she stumbled and I was thrown forward over her head, into the water and was instantly submerged with a horse coming down upon me, somehow Coni avoided crushing me under her by curling her forelegs up and jumping forward,  it was a miracle I wasn't drowned with a horse on top of me, but she knew it was me under her legs and wasn't going to hurt me.
    When Coni was 11 yrs old there was a pasture accident, and she lost the sight in her right eye.  She adjusted well to her blindness and we were always careful to talk to her when we worked on that side.

   In 1994 at the age of 33, I lost her mother Peni Fadda.  I was heartbroken, but knew I still had Coni for solace.  Coni was always my rock my stability point.  She was so special to me...
   In August 1997, my dad passed away, just after I learned I was pregnant and my fiance and I had just broken up.  Coni once again was a rock for me, my reason to live, my solace... Many more tears were shed into her solid body, she allowed me to cry out my heartbreak and always gave me comfort.  When my son was born, I would take him to the barn with me to do chores, Coni absolutely loved her baby!  Her eyes would get all soft and she would blow softly into his face just drinking in his baby smell!  You could see how much she loved babies, any babies... human, dog, cat, chicken, she would pull me over to baby strollers to see babies, and I always held the baby chicks and kittens up to her face so she could blow at them.  It wasn't an alarmed blow, it was a tender sigh I could always see how much she enjoyed babies and allowed her that pleasure. 

     On the off chance Coni ever got out of her pasture, she didn't go anywhere except up to the house to wait in front of the door for me to see her and put her back into the pasture.  I used to allow Coni to graze loose back home because she never left the yard.  Coni had so MUCH  personality!!  She was loved by all who met her, she would just charm her way into your heart without much effort on her part...

   Coni loved her treats, carrots were a favorite as well as sugar, and the peppermint horse treats.  In her last hours I was able to feed her carrots, she relished those, it was my pleasure to give her what comfort I could at the end. 

   In 2000 we were introduced to a young friend who was looking for a horse to lease for 4-H, I had 3 horses at that time, Coni, Shom, and Nabila, and she was allowed her choice of horses.  She chose Coni, my silly sweet mare.  They went on to a semi successful show career culminating in a trip to the State 4-H horse show in 2001.  Coni took it all in stride, until the time came to ride the Saddle Seat classes in the Coliseum... as soon as she entered that huge arena, she was black with sweat, but  as scared as she was, she still tried for my young friend... she was 21 at the time, and it was a relief to bring her back home unscathed from that adventure.

    Coni was named Champion Pleasure Mare at our county Fair that year, and my young friend came home with a large trophy that she proudly displayed for all to see,  I was quite surprised with her win because I though personally, I was showing the winning horse ( shows how much a judge's opinion differs from mine...).

    Many young people learned to ride on my sweet Coni, and then moved on to horses of their own, currently one young friend is riding the Arabian circuit and has done very well with the horse she is currently leasing, I personally think Coni is responsible for that young lady's continued foray into the Arabian horse world give her the sole credit.

   After my fall from a horse a couple of years ago, Coni was the first horse I got back up on, it was like slipping into a pair of comfortable old shoes, we meshed so well, I knew I would always be safe on her back.

   This summer I had no time for riding with the weather, and my job but I continued to always have time to pet and love on my horses, even if only for a few minutes.  Coni always loved having her butt scratched and would make her way up to me to beg for some scratches with her soft nickers.  I only had to call her from the living room window, and she would nicker back begging me to come out and give her some scratches or a treat... it was always so nice to come out of the house and know Coni would be there to call for me if she heard or saw me coming.
   I don't know what happened that Wed a week after I lost Promise, but I only know Coni was fine in the morning when I did chores, and in the evening when I came out to do chores something was very wrong with my precious baby.  She couldn't walk straight on her hind legs, it was like she was drunk, swaying and crossing her hind legs as if she didn't know where they were.  The vet was out the next day to examine her, initially he thought EPM, but the symptoms didn't add up... she had no lethargy, no drooping of her face, her spirits were good, she was the same old Coni with the exception of her hind end.  We fought valiantly for her to improve and one minute it would seem like she was better, then next she was having a set back again.  I had another vet come out who did acupuncture on her, and he also thought EPM possibly, and I was trying to get her into a new drug trial when the bottom fell out of our plans.  Coni fell for the last time on Sunday night, she couldn't rise again on her own.  I called my brother for help and he built a sling for her and we tried to lift her with an engine hoist, we were able to get her up but her hind legs just couldn't support her, and I realized I was going to have to say good bye to my good friend.  We lowered her for the last time, and I called the vet.  I was unable to even say the words, "put her to sleep" but he knew it was time, just from the tone of my voice.  I can't believe how hard that was, to tell him we were giving up the fight, but it was time and in my heart I knew it.  I gave her several carrots and sat with her telling her how much I loved her, and that she wasn't going to suffer any longer, she wanted to live, but her body was failing her.  As the vet gave her the medicine to put her in a forever sleep I was there at her head talking to her comforting her... it was soooo hard to say goodbye... my baby, my heart horse...
   Coni was buried with dignity and care next to her friend Promise.  I never, ever expected to have to say goodbye to 2 horses this soon, and most especially not my Coni, my sweet girl...  

     I am still crying myself to sleep at night, and I dread coming home from work knowing I will never see her wonderful face peeking out at me through the fence, I will never hear her welcoming nicker greeting me as I step out the door.  I know I did the best I could for her and I know she had a great life with me, but this knowledge brings me no comfort.  I know time only will help the hurt heal, and I know I will see her again in Heaven, but at this time, I would give almost anything to have my Coni back...

   I hope in my grief I have been able to convey the love and trusting bond I shared with this special mare,  I know it probably sounds disjointed I am trying to get through this in my enormous grief, my time with her just seemed too damn short...

    As you read this, if you have a special heart horse, perhaps you could go out and give them a hug and know that I would be doing the same thing with my heart horse, she will always live inside of me.

Rest In Peace my sweet Coni


Unkept Promises July 5 1985 - July 28 2011

I put my 27 year old mare Promise to sleep 07/28/2011, she has been rapidly declining over the past few weeks.  Please allow me to share with you the precious time we had her in our care.
   Promise was part of a group of 3 horses I bought in 2003 for the total amount of $475 for all 3 horses.   She was a sweet mare who had not had anything done with her most of her life.  Georgene Holasek of Rock Isle  Arabians purchased her somewhere in in Indiana, and I was extraordinarily pleased with my detective skills when I was able to find her breeders and in my excitement called them to talk about her and perhaps find out a little history on this wonderful mare that had come into my life.  Their response sadly, was to warily inquire as to how I had gotten their telephone number, they had no interest in learning that their 19 year old mare had landed in a place that would happily give her a forever home, and would love her and take the best care of her I possibly could.
   Needless to say I was quite disappointed in their response, I was curious to know what all this mare might know and where she had been for the previous years ( I could trace her from the time she got to MN).  She was a gorgeous wild bay color with an exotic dried clearly Arabian head, her conformation was quite nice too although she wasn't a big mare by any means ( 14.2-3).  Mainly Polish bloodlines she was quite exotic looking.  She had this quirky way of swinging her head when she wanted to see something, although her sight was fine in both  eyes.  Although to my knowledge she had no formal training of any type, I taught her to stand for a halter class, and entered her in the county fair once.  She was so afraid before we entered that arena that she stood quietly next to me and trembled.  She trusted me though and I think she knew I wouldn't let any harm come to her.  Anyway, we took home the Champion Pleasure Mare trophy as well as the Best of 3 pleasure mares class.  It was quite an exciting year for the Erickson household!  I didn't ask Promise to show again, she had more than proved her worth at that show.  I knew there was a chance she was in foal because my stallion had pasture bred her a couple of times in the spring.  By the end of Sept 2004 it was clear she was in foal.  I started checking her to see if I could feel the baby kicking in her.  Low and behold, I could!  This was more cause for celebration, so we invited our friends over for "feeling the baby kick" parties... She was a champ through all of this.  Not knowing when she was officially bred ( and not wanting to spend the money to check), in Jan of 2005 I hauled her over to a good friend's house to foal her out ( she was already starting to bag up.)  Her filly was born March 28th.  I already had plans for Promise's foal, I gave her to a very good friend of mine for her 21st birthday ( that is another whole story).  Promise was a terrific mother, but a terrible stall horse, she walked and walked and walked, made Darcie crazy, I am sure she was delighted when we finally brought Promise home...
   Promise lived the life of Riley here on the farm, she was an Alpha mare who got along with everyone.  She loved "cookies" ( horse treats, esp the peppermint ones)  All I had to do was call for her saying Promise, want a cookie?  and she could be at the end of our 6 acres and she would come a runnin... it was so delightful to watch her get her "groove on" and do that beautiful floaty trot Arabians in all their glory are so good at doing.  Her tail flung over her back, hocks and knees pistoning,  neck proudly arched... majestic to watch.... spellbinding.  Promise had her own winter blanket, and the past couple of years has loved when I headed outside with her blanket to cover her for the winter.  I remember one night coming home to do chores and Promise was standing so still, I couldn't figure out why until I got near her, since it was dark I couldn't see that she had her back legs wrapped in wire, she could have panicked but she didn't, she waited for me to quietly untangle her legs from that mess of wire.

       Tonight I grieve the loss of a great teacher for children wanting to learn about horses.  She always loved attention, and when the Girl Scouts asked if they could come out and learn something about horses, she was one of the first horses I thought of for learning to handle a horse on the ground.  She was an angel about having her feet handled, and for clipping, I allowed people to practice their clipping skills on Promise because she was so good about having her head muzzle ears and legs handled.  I have so many, many pleasant memories of Promise over the past 8 years,  I only wish I had more pictures... Tonight I grieve,  the loss of my friend my beautiful bay girl, the girl who surreptiously  ripped the hood off my chores coat one day when I was giving her scratches.  My heart is hurting so much right now,  I know I gave her a good life and I didn't allow her to suffer at the end of it, but even this knowledge doesn't make the pain any easier to bear. 

   I understand that live here on Earth is short, and for our animal friends it is even shorter, My son and I have been slammed in just a short time with the loss of 2 very beloved pets, live is short... Please if you pray, please include my small grieving family in your prayers it is appreciated....

Good bye Banjo

Banjo, an older Sheltie that was a beloved member of our family was put to sleep 07/24/2011.  Our hearts are so sad, it is amazing how quickly our animals worm their way into our hearts.  Banjo and his mother Maggie were older when they came to live with us.  Banjo was 9 and loved to jump on my bed and completely mess it up, the further my pillow was from the head of the bed, the happier he was.  It was so fun to watch him bounce happily down the Luce Line as we took our walks.  He was always in competition with our Cocker Spaniel Betsy to catch up to Barkley ( our Black Lab/Basset cross).  His loyalty to me was amazing, he always came when he was called, and didn't stray off our property.  Last fall, we lost Banjo for several hours.  I let them out before I went to work, and Banjo disappeared, I called and called for him but he didn't appear, I jumped in the car and drove up and down the highway looking for him ( thinking he got scared and ran down the road), no sign of him.  So I called the sheriff's office, the neighbors, the radio station,and the police station with his description and when and where he disappeared.  At noon that day I headed home to look for him again, and there he was sitting on the top steps, shaking like a leaf ( he was very frightened) waiting for someone to let him into the house.  I don't know what happened to him or where he disappeared to, but I do know he found his way back home and waited for someone he loved to rescue him.( Personally I think he got under our house and couldn't find his way out).  His incredibly cute button eyes could charm even the most hardened soul.  He loved going for rides in the car even if it ment going to the groomers ( which he never was particularly fond of).  All I ever had to do was ask, "Wanna go for a ride?" and the noise that accompanied that question was decibel breaking...  He loved the other critters we share a life with, including the chickens and ducks, he never attempted to hurt any of them even when he first arrived here with his mamma.  He enjoyed tormenting his mamma sometimes, trying to take away her lazer light or getting ahead of her when running down the trail.  He and Betsy would chase each other in circles when they were feeling frisky.  They were so funny to watch!
  Banjo developed a bladder tumor that was diagnosed in Feb of this year,  the vet offered to try to surgically resect the tumor, but given Banjo's age ( 11) and the size of the thing, I declined the surgery, the vet wasn't sure he could even resect it and thought if he couldn't he just wouldn't wake Banjo up.  This was unacceptable to me, and I promised Banjo he would live peacefully until the time came when he was in pain.  That day arrived this weekend, he stopped eating and drinking ( he had been getting pickier with his food over the past couple of weeks), he spent his time sleeping in my bedroom or on the floor in the living room.  Banjo always loved to snuggle with us on the couch and on my bed.  I gave him a death with dignity and Matthew and I buried him on our farm near my garden. It is close to the creek he loved to run to in order to get a drink from a clear bubbling spring.
  Our hearts are broken, we have both shed so many tears this weekend, it is a very incredibly hard way to end a sad weekend fraught with disappointment and heartbreak.  I just want to take this time to jot down my memories of Banjo and how loved he was among our little family.  Banjo will be greatly missed,  we will see him again someday in Heaven, this I truly believe and the little comfort it gives me now is something I am trying to console my brokenhearted 13 yr old son with also.  Thanks for listening( reading).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

a fitness diary

  No  I did not actually make this diary... got it from a friend of mine who knows how hard I am working on my new lifestyle.
   I really got a laugh out of it and am determined to share it with my fellow readers~!

For my birthday this year, my husband purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me.
Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.
I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.
Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god-- with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile.  Woo Hoo!!
Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!
Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door.  Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it!  My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile.  His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT!  It's a whole new life for me.
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it.  I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals.  Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.
Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members.  His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.
My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster.  Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators?  Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life.  He said some other shit too.
Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl.  I couldn't help being a half an hour late-- it took me that long to tie my shoes.
He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom.  He sent some skinny bitch to find me.
Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine-- which I sank.
I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor.  If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it.
Christo wanted me to work on my triceps.  I don't have any triceps!  And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.
The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher.  Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today.  Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel..
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over.  I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun-- like a root canal or a hysterectomy.  I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Poem?

   Time for a new post something horsey themed I believe...:

   T'was the day before Christmas I awoke with a start, to the phone merrily clanging and the thud of the cat!  ( falling off my chest as I turned over to get the phone of course!) 
Away to the kitchen to answer said call,I bolted,
when what to my wondering eyes should I see, but 3 horses not in a place they should be!!!
They were merrily munching right jolly old things,
on their whole winters store of alfalfa and greens!
  I sprang into my clothes, to the dogs gave a whistle, and away we all flew like the down of my comforter ( which I knew was still warm from my fat sleeping frame...).   now I digress...
   I caught the old mare she was eager to please, and she went back in the paddock it was simple with ease!!!
   She raced through the pasture so gay and so proud, one never would know she was the eldest of the crowd~

The bay Moorish gelding ( Sahib), who needed no blanket ( he was fat and sassy and the straps are too short for his round little belly), was next at the gate and went peacefully in just awaiting his fate.

 Then came the younger chestnut mare, with the diabolical mind, her wits were much, much, much much quicker than mine.  She raced this way and that just avoiding the rope, and I swore and I cursed and quickly I saw it, my one opportunity, to catch this dang horse and get back to my bed!!
 ( okay that doesn't rhyme, but I'm telling a story here!).
   The rest of the horses how grateful they looked, patiently waiting for me to come feed them, the 3 silly horses, they needed no food, they only needed to have a good rest, and they found it quite nicely in the " time out" pen.

   I thought to myself as I mended the fence, " I don't need this!"  But that hasn't stopped my from keeping my horses just as safe as I can no matter the day, and they all wish you the Merriest of holidays today and tomorrow!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


    I have been considering this post for a bit.   What makes a friend?  I have mulled this over for a few weeks now.  Some of my friends are rather new, and many, many are quite old ( as in I have been friends with them for many years, not age-related).   Some friends to me are inanimate objects,  for instance, these fall mornings as I step outside to do chores, it is still dark.  But I look into the sky and see my friend Orion gazing out into the heavens from his kneeling vantage point.  He is friendly to me because he is always there, unchanging, I can count on him being there for me to see.  I have been looking a lot into the heavens, learning the constellations and the stars that they are comprised of.  Betelgeuse is one of the stars in the Orion constellation,  I like this star solely because of its name.  Pronounced "beetlejuice", this star reminds me of the movie starring Micheal Keaton, and I really enjoyed that movie!    Another star in the Orion constellation is Bellatrix, and for those Harry P fans, we know who she is certainly along with her cousins Sirius and Regulus ( both are also heavenly bodies seen in the autumn skies here in Minnesota).  I never was able to make a connection with J.K. Rowling for how she chose the names of her characters, I think she too, looked into the heavens and was inspired.  Without doing any homework on this, I can only speculate, but the names ARE there.  My friends, the stars.    

     Speaking of stars, I am friends with Vin Diesel, at least on Facebook I am... He posts regularly, and always lets his FB friends know how grateful he is to be in the place he is currently at status wise.  I have always admired Vin,  he seems to be a man of integrity, something I value highly in my world.

     Honesty, integrity, faithfulness and kindness are some of the things I value in my friends.  I have many friends, some are not good friends they are on the outskirts of my friendship circle.  My true friends are good friends.   I have not unfriended many people in my life.  A couple of .loser boyfriends, and 2 women are all that come to me right now.

     The one friendship I regret losing now, Nancy was her name and she was beautiful, but nice.  She loved flirting with guys and I loved hanging out with her cuz I knew all the hot guys were going to want to get to meet her ( and me by association).  But one night of partying showed me her true colors, see she had just gotten married to this really hot, hot lead singer of a band ( we went to a lot of bars and met a lot of hot band members).  I knew Terry ( her husband), and liked him, he was a nice guy and didn't need to have his wife going off to party with some other band for all hours of the night.  I told her I wasn't interested in partying with this band, and we should get home, Nancy didn't like hearing that.  She was about to go off with this band without me even though I had driven her to this bar ( somewhere near Marshall , Lind ballroom I believe), and I wasn't about to let that happen. So I finally get her away from the band and get her into my car to head the long drive back to Montevideo ( that is where we lived near).  She was so mad at me she told me we were no longer friends, and she never wanted to speak to me again.  I agreed, and the silent car ride has lengthened into 20+ years.  I never made up with her again.  I sometimes wonder though, how she is doing, we had many fun times before this together.

   The second friendship I happily set aside last year. The person in question proved themselves to be dishonest, untrustworthy and unreliable. 

    My friends are much better people than this.   The people I choose to surround myself with are supportive, considerate, trustworthy, honest and kind.  My trainer for instance,  a terrific person who has been crapped on several times in her life.  Someone burglarized her barn, not just once, but twice!  This woman doesn't have a palace, and works so hard for what she has.  Why should she be the person to lose so much?  I often ask God that question.  His answer?  He doesn't always give us what we WANT, but he ALWAYS gives us what we NEED.  I don't know the how or the why of my trainer needing to be burglarized twice, but God has the plan,  I need the faith to follow what his plan is for me and my friends.  I do pray, and I include my trainer in my prayers.

   I have some really good friends that I have had since I was a child.  I don't get to see them often, but when we get together, we just pick up where we left off in our friendship.  I like to use the analogy of putting on my most comfortable pair of shoes.   Comfortable old shoes are a high priority to me and they clearly are high on my list of things I am grateful for  (right up there with hot running water)! That is how my old friends feel to me.

     I also have friends among the animals.  Clearly, all our animals here on our small hobby farm are friends,  My son and I name them all ( except for the bees, they move too fast to bee named...).  We have our 10 horses, which of course have been with us for many years.  Coni is 30 and she has been with me since she was born.  She is my heart horse, there is such a special bond between she and I we know each other...  Sahib is my other heart horse, and it is clear he loves me, as much as I love him.  Non horsey people have even noticed this bond.  They can see how he looks at me and can see the love emanating from him and they see my love for my horse also.  This is friendship.  I look forward to developing our riding partnership as well as our bond.  I have ridden him a couple of times now, since he got back from my trainer's farm and small baby steps will ensure that bond continuing to grow.
   I grieve for some of my animal friends.  Last year, an owl killed my friend Gary.  Gary was a large Pekin drake.  He loved me and I loved him, we were good friends.  Gary would always come when I called for him and it was hilarious to see this huge duck running and flapping his wings in his excitement to come and see what kind of game we were going to play!   He loved to play tag with my feet.  I would quickly shuffle my feet and he would almost trip over himself trying to catch each foot as it moved!  He loved grabbing on to my shoe laces and untie my tennis shoes.  My boots were frustrating for him, there was nothing for him to untie...  If I mistakenly wore sandals or flip flops outside I had to be very wary of Gary, because he liked nothing better than to come up ( especially when I was distracted) and nip my feet.  That stings, a lot!!!Try it sometime, take a tweezers and pinch a tiny piece of skin on the top of your foot as hard as you can.  That is kind of what it was like for Gary to catch me in flip flops!!!
   Gary liked to sleep next to the house, in the summer so he could be there quacking in his hoarse drake voice as soon as I opened the door each morning.   Sadly, this practice is what led to his demise.  I found him one October morning, with the Great Horned Owl that killed him standing over him feeding.  Shock overwhelmed my grief.  This owl not only killed my friend Gary, but it was more than willing to take on all 5 dogs that surrounded it as I unknowingly let them outside that morning!  I could see it starting to hop toward the mini Dachshund  Bailey, and I rushed outside grabbing the closest item I could find.  A broom.  Yes, I took on an owl with a broom, and guess what? An owl ( esp one of that size) isn't intimidated by a wild woman swinging a broom... I even connected with it, didn't even phase the thing.  It hopped off into the wild where I still here it sometimes at twilight as I am doing chores.  I then hustle to lock all my birds safely into their coops, and make sure the smaller dogs are safely inside before continuing on with my chores for the evening.  I won't lose another friend to an owl's hunger.
    I have sadly lost several birds this fall.  Gone are Betty and Agnes, followed by the only duck I hadn't named, the small black Runner female.  Then Rosy got sick and I found her dead last Monday, she is buried by Gary.  Helen disappeared next, she was a Black Swedish duck who loved her Cheerios, and clamored for them every morning.  Saffron disappeared next, and she was the one bird I thought had the best survival instincts, I figured she of all my chickens would be wise enough to sense danger before it was too late, I was wrong I guess. Now my Mallard duck Goldy is gone, she was Gary's mate and I enjoyed watching her antics as she begged for treats.  Yesterday, I lost one of my exhibition birds Ash, she was a blue Cochin, just about 7 months old, next year I was going to be entering her and her sister Smoke ( get it, Smoke and Ash???... I thought it kind of cool if you say it fast....) in some poultry competitions.   I am trying to keep my girls safe, but I think  coyote has discovered the reliable feast available to him during the day at the Erickson farm.   I don't lose birds at night, only when they free range during the day.
    So I say good by to some of my friends, and I will always remember them fondly.  My other friends, human and animal, I will continue to support through thought, word and deed.  There is nothing like a good friendship.

Friday, August 27, 2010

leaves are changing

   Gosh, is it the end of summer already?   My how time passes!!  It seems I was just beginning my summer yesterday!  At least this year, I am healthy ( as in not injured) and free of the worthless baggage that used to hang around my life. 
   I have spent much of the summer doing horse shows.  No, not showing, I am "retired" from showing, but I announce shows now a days.  I like announcing, I think I do a good job, ( at least I try my best to do a good job), shows always compliment me after the day and usually ask me back for the following year.  I have 2 more shows to do this summer, and then I can officially call it the end of summer.  2 Weeks from now I am announcing the Arabian Open Shows Championship show in Lake Elmo.  I announced this show last year, and they liked my style so asked me back for this year.  I enjoyed the show, so many beautiful horses, and some worthwhile trainers and stables represented.  There is one stable that isn't a really huge name stable, but the owner/trainer always supports the community shows in the state and brings many young students along to these shows.  I hope that stable is there this year.  Their name is Regent Arabians and I have the utmost respect for this owner Doug.  He seems to be a nice man with some integrity.  That is something I highly value at this point in my life.  Honesty and integrity, that is all I ask of someone in order for me to count them as a person worthy of my respect.  My parents taught me that.  I am trying my best to pass on those self same values to my child.  I hate liars!  With a passion!!!!!  Why would someone spend their time making up stories?  Is it to make them seem more important?  I just don't get it...