Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rodeo on the Farm

Red and Sid look pretty cute and small here, I figure. Which is why we thought we'd have no trouble wrassling them to the ground to put their ear tags in...

So we gather a team of five. We have a rope. We have the tags and tagger, and instructions. The calves are curled up at the opposite side of the pasture from their moms. Everything looks perfect. We approach the calves, which is never a problem; they like getting scratched under the chin.

Problem number one: they're afraid of the rope. They get up. I decide to try for Sid since he's the smallest and tamest. Every time I get close with the rope, he moves away. Slowly, slowly, with the team waiting a little way away, I inch closer with the rope. And then it's on! Team member number two leaps on Sid and we hang on as Sid kicks and bucks and twists and drags us. The rest of the team is trying to sneak up but when I holler "Help!" they start to run, just as Sid escapes. How could he? He's so little!

Ten more minutes of trying to sneak the rope on Sid again, and ten more minutes of the calves moving closer and closer to their moms, causes Dad to ask for the lassoo (which is actually spelled lasso but I like lassoo better). Okay, lassoo fetched and swinging, Dad, ever patient, stalks and stalks and finally he's got Sid! Mom and I (the other two team members have wandered away) grab the rope, Dad tackles Sid and flips him just as his bawling (Sid's, not Dad's) brings the cows galloping in a rage! LET 'IM GO DAD!!!

Dad faces off with the two cows while Mom and I holler and Sid bawls. We need the rest of the team, but they're off somewhere on horseback...Dad lets Sid go and then there's a stampede! Two cows and two calves, one dragging a long rope that's around his neck (Sid's, not Dad's). He's going to choke! But no, from out of nowhere, one of the missing team members dives through the fence into the fray and slips the rope off the calf, risking death by trampling. Sid is safe, Mom still has the tags and tagger and instructions, and we're all still alive so we can safely go back in the house and figure out a better way to do this!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Peter--Days 19, 20 and Beyond

Well, day twenty was no magic number for Peter, but he is continuing to become more relaxed at the arena and more willing to slow down. He's responding well in a thin snaffle bit and his rider was able to have a lesson on him with her riding instructor and everyone felt it went really well. So I will leave him to his rider now, which means I can turn my attention to my own horse, Kasper, who I've been itching to ride.

So far, I've spent some time doing ground work with Kasper, getting him used to me as the leader again after the winter off. I've ridden him around in the corral and pasture and soon we'll be going out on the trails when I have someone to come with me. Kasper really needs a confident buddy along on the trails. After he bolted home with me for the second time last year, I decided not to ride him on my own until he's more confident.

Here's Kasper in the bareback pad. This is one of Glenn Stewart's bareback pads. It's amazing. The suede holds you on like epoxy.

Red and Sid. Red is two weeks older than Sid, but he seems way bigger! But having never had cows before, we're not sure if Sid's a runt, or Red's a giant? We're hoping giant, otherwise we may have trouble selling Sid at the bull sale next spring.

Sid tasting the rake handle which he spent a good long time with.


And this little guy is a vole, eating up some spilled oats. We have billions of voles here. They build tunnels out of grass under the snow in the winter, so in the spring, as the snow recedes, you see all these grassy vole highways and hide-outs. We have mice and shrews here at our place, but they're rare compared to voles.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chicago - April 29-May 2, 2010

Last weekend I went to my first Erin Murphy Literary Agency Retreat, held in Chicago. This is an annual retreat my agent organizes for her clients. It was held in downtown Chicago, which is bursting with tulips, crowds, and the odd cow.

And the rare but locally common Metalic Moose.

Here's a picture taken from the tour boat that took us out on windy Lake Michigan.

This sculpture is in Millenium Park. It's called The Bean. I think. At least that's what everyone was calling it, but I never actually saw a sign. It's a bizarre and wonderful sculpture amongst several other bizarre sculptures.

The retreat itself was fabulous. I met many well-published, in-the-midst-of-being-published, and soon-to-be-published authors. We swapped experiences and read bits of our works-in-progress, so we can all cheer for each other's books in all stages of the publishing process.