Redemption

Over and over, in our time together, people told me how lucky Cookie was to have me.
My response was always the same…

“Nope. I’m the lucky one…”


Y’see, when you grow up being told that you’re not wanted, you believe that. You really do believe that you aren’t worthy of being loved.
By anyone.
And, it doesn’t matter how many people come along afterwards and try to tell you that you are worthy, there’s always that Little Voice in the back of your head that whispers “Don’t believe ’em. Don’t you dare believe them. People always lie.”
Heh. I’ll tell ya, my Hubby is a frickin’ Saint for sticking with me all these years! That little voice makes living with someone like me awful hard sometimes.

But, horses?
They don’t lie.
They’re as open and honest as any creature can be.
They’ll show you exactly what they see in you every time.

Cookie practices her unicorn poses as the sun rises.

So you see, it was always me that was the lucky one.
Because what she saw in me, she deemed worthy.
Not only of her absolute trust, but of her love.

Cookie EasterBunny

She offered me her heart and I gave her my everything.
She gave me redemption.
Proof that I was…I am…worthy of being loved.

“Oh! Hey Mama…whatcha doin'”
~Cookie

I always said that we came together as 2 broken creatures who needed each other to become whole again.

That is 100% truth.
I didn’t realize how much so, until I lost her.
I may have adopted her from the Rescue that saved her from being on a plate, but Cookie rescued me from myself and that ugly little voice.

It’s funny, I have these moments where I swear, I’m not going to let any animal into my heart like this again.
This has been the worst grief I have ever carried.
And yet…
We all know.
I’ll do it again.
I’m going to let another one in, and that horse will never fill the space in my heart that went with Cookie, but instead, stand beside it and make me stronger.
And when I lose that horse, I’ll probably do it again.
And again.
And again.
I’m a sucker for punishment like that. 😉

“Haha! You can’t seeeeeee me…I’m hiding behind this treeeeeee!!!”
~Cookie

Last week I did a photo shoot that reminded me, once again, the Power equines have in our lives.
Watching people, children, families, connect to their chosen horses cut through the grief and proved to me that this pain is a blip in the road.
We love them with such depth and passion, it’s so hard to lose them.
But they just don’t live as long as we do, and we have to make the most of our time with them. ❤

This holiday season, I’m going to work at getting out and taking some fresh picture with my Girls.
I haven’t taken anything new here since Cookie’s funeral pyre.
Not only was she my Heart Horse, she was my Muse.
All photo shoots were planned around whether or not I could convince her to do what I wanted.
Sable always goes first, because she’s easy.
Ask and done. No convincing, no worries, just a perfect model.
Cookie, well I had to reassure that it was safe, that I would always put her safety first, that we really could make beautiful pictures together.
And we did. Often.
I was always so proud of her for trusting me and wearing all those odd, scary little things for me.

Cookie wears the Canadian flag.

Now, I’m a little lost.
I had plans for her, for pictures.
Things that just didn’t get done.

Oh Ms Cookie!

I’m working on finding my way.
It’s a lonely path without her.
But I can do this. I know I can.
I’ve been redeemed by the love of a damn fine horse.
The best way to honor her is to continue on…and eventually find the next damn fine horse who needs a little redemption themselves.

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4 Years

4 years ago our story began…it was the day we first met.
I loved her the second I lay eyes on her photo.
I knew that she and I were meant to be together.
4 years ago…
I told her “I’ll be back for you. I’m bringing you Home.”

Taken the day I met her…

2 months after, she arrived.
She’s Home.
A Midnight Calico Farm lifer.

Sleepy Girl ❤

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The same day, Hubby met his Girl…

Oh, Ruby!

Such a character, his Fat Girl.
Patient, willing, always up for a scratching. 😉
A level-headed, calm Girl…
Perfect to lead our little herd.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s not Gotcha Day.
Nope.
It’s “Damn We Were Lucky to Meet Y’all” Day.
Definitely worth celebrating.
🙂

Blogaversary

Holy Moly folks!
Today is our 4 year blogaversary.
4 years of rambling about this Farm life.
4 years of pictures…we’re just starting to run out of storage space.
Hehe. I may have to spring for a paid account soon. 😉

Here’s a few pictures to celebrate 4 years…

Mr. RainyDay Duck

Such a handsome, cheeky duck.
I’m telling ya, ducks rock!
Chickens are fun, but ducks have way more personality…at least, my 2 do.
That’s why they’re permanent residents. They’ll get girlfriends in the spring, so that we can hopefully have some ducklings to add to our Freezer Camp stores in the Fall.

Mr RainyDay Duck and Sir JazzyHands taking over the chicken coop…

This year’s batch of ex-battery hens have been unpleasant.
They’re mean and nasty bitches.
Even on high quality foods, with lots of greens and straw to play in, the coop treated in case of lice, and ample places to dust bathe, they’re still pecking each other. In too many cases, to death.

So, next year, we’re going with eggie chicks.
And this year’s lot of ex-batts are being disciplined by the ducks.
Sir JazzyHands takes no shit from nasty chickens…he’s not a mean duck at all, but he keeps those egg laying bitches in line. 😉

❤ CoalCat

We have a rule…when kittens were placed in homes, we told folks, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll take them back.
This Coal Cat is a returned kitten, who’s home placement didn’t work out. It’s taken us a few months to reintegrate her into Farm life, and she’s now happily an outdoor hunter cat…who also loves a hella good snuggle with the humans. ❤

“I’m itchin’ my leg, Mama. Don’t take my picture while I’m itchin’ my leg!”
~ Cookie

Poor BabyGirl has had a rough week.
We had some goose hunters out pulling bullshit on the field next to ours, shooting simply to scare the Girls…normally, they don’t care about guns, but when 5 guys shoot before daylight, in the darkness, that scares the bejeebus out of even a well adjust horse.
Once they were wound up, they just couldn’t settle while they jackwangs were shooting. And, of course, they could *see* the Girls running, so even when there were no birds, they shot off rounds just to see them run.
And Conservation was a damn joke to deal with.
😡

The next day, my poor Girl came up lame.
Like 3 legged hobbling lame.
On went the halter, Kid fed her grass while Hubby and I went over that horse with a fine toothed comb.
Turns out she has a stone bruise in her right rear hoof…so epsom salts soaks and a clean hoof were the order for her week. Then, I ran out of epsom salts, so I switched it up to sea salt soaks.
And today, she’s doing much, much better.
Stiff and sore, from compensating for the booboo hoof, but better.
She’s biting Astrid again, so… 😉

And, one of my favorite pics from the last few weeks…

It’s the rainy/damp season, and she gets ouchy.
Some days are worse than others. Some days it’s too hard to get to the beet pulp spot to eat and get her supplements in…some days she’s also a colossal Drama Queen. LOL!
But, because I love her dearly, Hubby is patient with her, even when it’s clear she has her D.Q. crown on.
Here he held her bucket for her while she ate…she was obviously hungry because she had her piggie nose in there before he bent over enough for her to eat comfortably.
What can I say, she’s my special pony, and I love her.

In 4 years of writing this has been my most popular post…
They Don’t Need to Understand

Or, if not my most popular, my most read post.

So here’s to 4 years, and darn near 500 posts.
We’ll probably do something to celebrate 500…maybe a giveaway of a print? Or an Equi~Gem?
We shall see.
I welcome y’all’s input.

Now, can we all chant “4 more years!! 4 more years!!”…because that just makes me giggle. 😉

They Don’t Need to Understand

Horse people.
Everyone has an opinion.
Some good. Some…not so much.
Me?
I listen to my horse.

The past 2 years, she’s worn a breakaway halter.
I’m home.
All.
The.
Time.

I’ve seen the images of horses who get caught up wearing a halter.
I’ve heard all the lectures.
Remember…horse people have opinions.
And, some are happy to beat you over the head with ’em.

Really, it’s no different from a horse wearing a fly mask…
Or a grazing muzzle…
Or a blanket 24/7…

But nobody lectures you or sends you shitty pictures of dead horses when you put those things on your horse.
Nope.
Just when you leave a (breakaway) halter on.
Makes me a bit prickly…thorny even…when I get the unsolicited “advice”.

Thankfully, Facebook has a block feature.
Heheh…
My block list is a veritable “who’s who” of the local horse world.
Everyone who has decided to take it upon themselves to “educate” me, for my own good, for my horse’s good.
They’re on that block list.
Because inevitably, what began as “I’m concerned” turned into “you’re a lazy idiot” when I explain why she still wore the breakaway.
Which is hilarious.
I am anything but lazy when it comes to these horses.
This horse.
You know what they say about opinions though…

For the record…

After a few months with the breakaway, the plan was to remove it.
I spent hours and hours and hours going out with a regular halter, practicing catch, love up and release.
It took time, but it was worth it.
Now?
I have exactly ZERO issues catching this horse.

And so, one day, I decided to pull off the breakaway too.
I took it off, gave her the “you’re free” command that let’s her know she can go be herself, and walked out of the pasture.
That was just about a year and a half ago…

She panicked.
She followed me to the gate.
She whinnied.
She tried to come out the gate with me.
When the gate was closed and I walked to the house, she ran to the back fence.
She whinnied again…and again…and again…
She ran that fence line, back and forth, working up a lather, calling the whole time.

It was ugly. And sad. And it broke my heart to see.
It went on for nearly a week.

Her coat got dull.
She wasn’t eating.
She was constantly pacing the fence line.
She was getting ribby.
I did what any sane person would do in an insane position…
I put the damn breakaway back on her.
And then we worked her way back to her healthy, fat as a tick, self.
Because the second I had that crown of leather over her ears, she relaxed…

I have, in all my life, never, ever heard of a horse acting like this.
Ever.
There is no precedent to follow, no training to use, no expert to help.
We were flying blind here, and I had to, simply put, listen to my horse.

Now, roughly a year and a half later, we’ve tried again.
After months (nigh onto years) of catch, love up and release.
I think, I hope, I pray to Epona…
This time, I think it has worked.

Behold!

“What made me tough almost killed me..at least that’s how I remember the story. Over the years I’ve forgotten how it was…”

We started out with her white leather halter going overtop…
Then, I undid the crown of the breakaway and dropped it.
Finally, I pulled the rest of it out and dropped it on the ground…

“But I survived and I won’t walk down the same old road that they all followed
It only leads to a life not meant for me…”

While wearing her white leather, I groomed her, cleaned her feet out, rubbed her down with bug juice…
And then came the moment of truth:

“We’re always running away and we don’t even stop to think about it
The worlds in our hands…
They don’t need to understand”

“We do it our own way, no matter what they try to say about it. We’ve got our own plans…”

“They don’t need to understand…”

And this morning?
A nickered greeting when I came out on the deck, she trotted over for her halter to go on for grooming(and a whole lotta loving ❤ ), and a relaxed, calm demeanor when I removed the halter again.
So far, so good.
She is as normal as she’s ever going to be.
That’s just fine with me.

Our musical inspiration for the day and this post:

Measure

“Intense love does not measure,
It just gives.”
~Mother Teresa

❤ Ruby ❤

Getting Ruby set up for her black background portrait.
She was 100% convinced that this was too hard for her to do, even though it was inside her own shelter.
Here she gets some comfort from her Human…breathing in his scent for as long as she needed so she had the confidence to do hard things. 😉

An example of the finished portrait…

Friday’s Hunt on Sunday

First…thank you to everyone for their kind words and messages after last week’s post. Your love and support is appreciated and cherished.
October can be a tough month ’round here and it caught up with me. I have always prided myself on writing what’s real here on the Farm. Sometimes real is ugly and hard and emotional.

This week I have a better outlook, and some photographic evidence of how truly Blessed I am…

Prompts this week are Starts with S, Week’s Favourite and Amazing.

Starts with s this week is Sable at sunrise:

Breakfast at sunrise...

Breakfast at sunrise…

Our temperatures have been bouncing all over the place, with some gorgeous warmth lately. That means, though, that our normal hay feeding stations are mud pits. And that’s just not good for anyone’s feet. So, I’ve been walking the hay out to different non-muddy spots and leaving piles for them to enjoy.
They’re on 1/2 hay rations, because they still have some pasture to eat. This way, they clean up all the hay, wander about, and nibble the pasture bits. We started out on full hay rations, and they were tossing it about and wasting it. We dropped the amounts until everything was being cleaned up, and body weights were not affected. Turns out, that was 1/2 rations. 🙂

Another sunrise photo...Sable and her best pal, Astrid.

Another sunrise photo…Sable and her best pal, Astrid.

This week’s favourite is Erik the Viking…

erik-the-joker

He looks like The Joker, with his bloody face.

Last weekend we butchered the last 2 piggies. Going hand in hand with us getting our meat for winter, is a feast for the cats. Here Erik had just finished gorging himself in that bucket…that bucket held livers, hearts, fat scraps, and anything else that we humans weren’t going to eat. After the cats had their way with it, what was left was chopped and bagged to be frozen for winter feeding.

Finally, amazing.
This one…

Rocking the mohawk

Rocking the mohawk

She used to have a long mane, but keeps pulling it out on the fencing. I’ve given up on her having a long mane again…so I pulled out the scissors, and cleaned up her.
The amazing part is that she stood like a rock.
Last time I tried to give her a trim, she lost her shit a bit.
Scissors are scary and could kill a horse, y’know.
Not this time. She dropped her head and stood for me to clean up that raggedy mane up and trim her bridle path. I left the bit of mane long at her withers, just in case I get a stupid urge to climb up on her…gotta have a hand hold, right? 😉
It was wonderful to have her completely relaxed for something that she had previously freaked out about.
It’s really amazing how far she’s come.

Sharing with Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.