After I came home from feeding the cows (and having to put Frances back in for the second time since Mama left), I ate breakfast and gathered my gear. I had to walk nearly the entire length of the heifer patch to fetch Snip. The stinker knew I was coming but just didn't pay me no nevermind until I was real close. I stood there about six feet away until he came to me. Then I shook the bridle out, draped the reins around my neck (so neither one of us steps on them), pulled out the chinstrap like normal and got that hooked over his ears. I usually let that sit like that for a few seconds while petting him as an encouragement to behave. Then I got the bit in my left hand and snugged it up against his teeth. When I felt him start nibbling, I got ahold of the top of the bridle and pulled gently. He backed a little, but within seconds the bit was in his mouth and then he got petted and praised while I buckled the leather curb strap and chin strap.
Snaping the lead rope into the ring on the bottom of his halter, I headed back up the pasture with him. He spent a good part of the stroll tickling me from the waist up with his lips. I figured I might as well let him do that so long as he didn't actually nip me--perhaps if I ignore it, he'll stop. Of course, it's pretty hard to ignore something that tickles that bad! :D
I saddled up and bounced into the saddle, strapped my .22 onto the horn and started the ride. I counted 41 cows and 7 calves--the remainder were probably just up in the bay head and along the creek on the 40 acres so I didn't see them. Back on the 40 acres I noticed tire marks with a brown line in the grass between them. I got off at one point to check if that was blood or oil. It was oil--or rather the result of oil. What I think happened was this person's tractor (I know it was a tractor because of a tire mark through a cow patty) was leaking oil, the oil was hot and therefore burned the grass. I followed it all the way to the gate that leaves into the orange grove and there was a puddle of oil in the leaves there. I'm guessing that who ever owns that land came on to do something. I know they mowed it at somepoint last fall.
I even did a little trotting with my feet out of the stirrups (but staged to slam back into them if need be!) Then I headed to the big open part of the north pasture by the pens to do some more serious trotting/loping work. I think we actually got up to a gallop today (Snip's initive there...) Anyway, Snip behave himself very well--he could still use a little work on responding to 'whoa' [slow down, not stop, in my vocabulary], but he really didn't get out of hand today. I got comfortable enough at the lope that I let go of the saddle horn--I think my confidence is coming back--even though I haven't really ridden much over the last couple months. I was partly expecting Snip to buck today as he's been kind of crazy the last week goofing off in the pasture, so I was pleased that he didn't buck with me, nor did he do a lot of that head-shaking stuff that he seems to have picked up since I've been off since August. On the way back in, I rode completely with my feet out of the stirrups--this helps me to develop my leg muscles faster, but I think it also helps with feeling the horses' movements and how I ought to ride more correctly.
Oh, and I really think these hole ridden pants are ready for the trash--the top of my boot was sticking through the pant leg by the time I got done riding. I guess I'll wash them again and maybe we can use them for rags or something. [There's nothing wrong with them from the hips up--maybe I could cut the legs off and make a skirt? What'd ya think, seamstresses? :)]
After lunch and dishes (and watching Hawaii Five-O--I hadn't seen that episode before and it's good show), I secluded myself in my bedroom and recorded a stand-in narration for my documentary. Perhaps tomorrow I can put it into Premiere Pro (may do Soundbooth first) and get started with some real editing!
Sometime about four, I reminded Savannah that we needed to move the chicken coop today, so we headed out to do that. I grabbed my rooster out of the 'hospital' and headed for the other coop. I pitched him in and crawled in after him to take out the feeder (which was quite empty) and the water can--which was also pretty empty. We discovered today that it actually easier to move the coop with one person (me!) inside--it also makes it more convient for shifting the cardboard box around...
We got the coop moved and wieghted down, refilled the feeder and the water can, and I fed the chickens some scraps. These birds really aren't that afraid of me (I've purposely done a lot of handling them in order to keep them from being super skiddish); it feels rather funny when 6 week old chickens tromp across the toe of your rubber boot...
Savannah fed the cats and was just fixing to back the truck up to the barn so I could load some cow feed when I see a big white truck pulling a trailer with a tank on the back coming up the drive. It was Mr. S with my molassas! I jumped the electric wire and opened the big gap gate for him (there used to be a real gate there, but Snip yanked it out the first time he heard gunfire). Then Savannah and I loaded the feed--after I got the tailgate down. That thing sticks pretty bad on the right side sometimes.
We fed the cows and got done just about the same time Mr. S got done putting out the molassas--first he flipped the tank onto it's side to get the remaining water out it (I didn't get it all out when I siphoned it the other day) and then he rolled it off to the north some to get it out of the hole it has sat in for as long as I can remember.
I then fed Snip who seemed to be getting a little anxious about the whereabouts of his supper...
Then we had supper--it was a good one too...chicken, greenbeans, carrots, and watercress salad. Not sure I've ever had watercress before, but it was good, except for the fact that I was having difficulty getting into onto my fork and then staying there! I ended up eating the last of it with my fingers...but since I was by myself at the table by that point (I'm always last because I eat the most!), I guess it didn't really matter too much.
Ah...it was a good day!