“What about the R.O.U.S.’s?” -Princess Bride

   The cloud-like air drifted around me this morning as I meandered out to the barn. My attention wavered as images from Harry Potter’s England settled in my brain. Suddenly, I tripped.

   Of course I had to step on one of the traps in the yard for the moles. Of all the places to wander. Of all the places to set my foot. Eleven acres, and I had to stomp on a trap. We didn’t get a mole. We got a giant mammal.

   After sharing some choice words to nobody in particular, I proceeded to the barn and the inner sanctum where eight beasts (they are beasts in the moments before mealtimes) eagerly awaited my services. I was pleased to note Coffee and Dusty have finally realized by stepping into two different stalls, they’re fed first. Braz eagerly pushes her muzzle through the bars, but she’s forever the lady.

   After feeding them, I moved on to the kitties. I haven’t seen Smoky Joe (the cat from Hell Creek Ranch) since we let him out of the cage Sunday. I heard him last night, but I haven’t seen him. I keep his food bowl full, but I’m becoming a mite worried about the boy. I hope he comes out when my best friend arrives for her lesson tonight.

   After thinking happy thoughts about my kitties, I let the geldings into the new pasture and allowed the girls in to be fed. We have such a strange tradition with them. They all come in and choose different stalls every day–BUT they each have their two favorite stalls. They swap back and forth between those stalls, and depending on who chooses which stall, they have to jostle around and change it up.

   Senorita, (whether by wishful thinking or fact) seems to be improving her ulcer a great deal. She isn’t eating dirt any more and is pleasant to work with again. She’s not fidgety or rude. Savannah is, as always, sweet natured and gentle. Melody is pushy, and Lexi is confused. If Savannah chooses the stall next to Braz (her favorite stall) then Lexi tries to follow her in. If Savannah chooses to eat in Melody’s stall, Lexi wants to be in Savannah’s assigned stall. Four of the six stalls are, indeed, assigned, but you wouldn’t know it from the way the mares walk in. I let them do as they like, since there’s no harm done if I must rearrange horses after some of them go out for the evening.

   We have four indoor boarders, but only Braz has a stall every night no matter what. Melody, Savannah, and Honey have stalls when they need ’em–wet, cold, and/or yucky nights. The last two nights have been mild, so I didn’t put them inside. I can’t guarantee tonight will be the same. It may be an indoor night for the kids–or at least Melody and Savannah. Melody’s coat is pathetically thin, and Savannah is a “Gambler’s Choice” indoor boarder. (She stays out when it’s nice and comes in when it’s nasty.) Savannah’s owner pays for Stall Board, but knows I’ll bring Savannah in when Melody stays in.

   Thanksgiving is coming quickly. I need to create order from chaos and bring this house to “Aunt J.” status. (We compare houses between mine and the husband’s wonderful Aunt.) Sadly, the house isn’t anywhere near that delightful lady’s muster. I must needs take my leave to prepare. Though it’s at the end of the month, I know Thanksgiving will come all too quickly for my comfort. We have a large, hungry contingent from the husband’s family converging at the farm that day. Thank goodness we’re surrounded by lucky horseshoes.

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