Beloved

WordPress hosts daily themes, and weekly photo challenges that I enjoy jumping into when I can’t quite come up with something to write.
This week’s photo challenge is Beloved.
“Share a photo of something that is dearly loved…”

Cookie and her 3 birds.

Love never reasons, but profusely gives;
it gives like a thoughtless prodigal its all,
and then trembles least it has done to little.
– Hannah More

Who else? ❤
One of the times I was able to capture a grackle sitting on her.
There’s one under her head too (the black spot in the grass) and one farther down on her rump…
The obvious one was the best though…it sat there and trilled its song, while gobbling up bugs flying around.
🙂

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‘Til We Meet Again

Here we are, at the end of January.
It’s been an exhausting winter.
Either way too cold, or bouncing up above freezing.
Honestly, I’ve spent the last month being rather unsure what I’m going to find in the pasture every morning…

Y’see, rapid weather changes are hard on horses.
Hard to believe that such large, powerful animals can be so damn delicate, but there it is…rapid weather changes can cause upset tummies in a flash. And, often before we humans know it’s coming.
To counter act that, I make sure everyone has a good pile of hay to munch from, salt blocks within easy reach of the waterer (plus one away from it, in case someone wants to hoard it from the others), and an extra dash of salt in their beet pulp daily.
The idea is, keep things moving in and out on schedule, and hope that’s enough to keep tummies settled and happy.
All 3 are doing well.
🙂

And me?

Well, I finally picked up my camera last week.
Between Astrid looking gorgeous in the snow:

Little Red ❤

Beautiful Girl ❤

And the urge to create something to honor my Cookie…
Well, the camera and I got reacquainted.

Take a blanket, halter, crown, Cookie Monster and a bottle of whiskey to the pasture…

Funny how the good ones go
Too soon, but the good lord knows
The reasons why I guess

And this is what I get…

Sometimes the greater plan is kinda hard to understand
Right now it don’t make sense
I can’t make it all make sense

And this…

So long my friend, until we meet again
I’ll remember you
And all the times we used to
Sit right here on the edge of this pier
Watch the sunset disappear
And drink a beer


Until we meet again, my Love.
Never goodbye.
We will be together again.

In the meantime, it’s time to stop the grief from stifling the creativity, and let it flow through and work with the creativity.
That’s the plan, anyways. 😉

So, I think I’m back, friends.
At 11 weeks after Her death, I think I can finally breath enough to continue on without being a sobbing zombie mess.
Can’t guarantee there won’t be tears here and there (of course there will be) but instead of letting that stop me, I’m going to just go with it…
We’ll see what comes from that.

Sharing with McGuffy’s Reader Sparks:17

Today’s musical inspiration provided by:

And…
Did ya notice the new thing?
😉

Cookie’s Favorite Cookies

This face…


She could smell her favorite gingerbread cookies before they even hit the oven. 😉
I don’t know what it was about that particular recipe, but that horse would call for them as soon as she smelled me baking them. And, if I happened to go out to the pasture with a few warm-from-the-oven ones for her, she’d love me for days and days afterwards.

Cookie’s Gingerbread Cookies

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon 😘
1/4 tsp ground cloves ~ I used fresh ground nutmeg instead, because I have it on hand for egg nog.
6 tbsps unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsps vanilla

  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper
  3. whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt ginger, cinnamon, and cloves (nutmeg)
  4. in large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and egg on medium speed until well blended
  5. add molasses and vanilla and mix until well blended
  6. gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth
  7. wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in fridge for 15 minutes

Now, from here you can leave the dough in the fridge for up to a week and bake as needed.

When it comes to baking, you can roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes, or you can do what I do…

  1. Roll a tbsp or so of dough into a ball.
  2. roll ball of dough in white sugar to coat
  3. place on parchment lined cookie sheet
  4. smoosh a wee bit flat
  5. bake at 375 for 7-10 minutes
  6. Enjoy!!

That’s it.
Simple, easy peasy gingerbread cookies that made my darling Paint lose her mind. 😉

“Where’s my cookies, Food Lady?!?” ❤

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.

One Day at a Time

So I got lost there for a bit.
Had to.
Dealing with Cookie’s death has been a challenge…

My own grief, my human family’s grief, my little herd’s grief.
My mares are having a tough time adjusting to 3 instead of 4.
They’ve lost a foundation member of their herd and it’s been hard on them.
On all of us.

So, I took a break.
Because the whole “Cowgirl up, rub some dirt in it and keep going” thing was too damn hard to do.
I needed some time to process this.

I still look for her every morning.
I miss that pretty face, that morning nicker, those grumpy ears when the hay doesn’t come fast enough, the sly hugs, that sweet breath, her sass and charm…

But, I also needed a break because…whooooaaa…horse people.
They have opinions.

Now, the folks on my FB friends list, and all y’all here (blog and FB Farm page followers), have been amazing. I’ve had folks checking in on me, making sure I’m okay, I’ve had meals delivered, I’ve had a few come out just for hugs…and I’m usually okay ’til the hugs. Then I cry and I warn ’em…hug me and there are gonna be tears and snot. LOL! I ain’t one of those dainty, pretty crying people.
Even knowing that, they still hug me.
I am so very grateful for those people.
I hope you all know that.

The ones I needed a break from were the ones with their opinions.
And I kinda didn’t want to say anything about it, but then, I kinda do, because being an asshole is never okay.

So, for the record:

  1. If you don’t know me, aren’t on my friends list, have never even seen me in person, you have no right to question Cookie’s care.
    Or the care of any of my animals.
  2. Demanding to know the treatment she underwent, or demanding to see vet bills as proof that she was being seen will get you a resounding “Fuck. Right. Off.”
  3. Using the tired, pathetic standard of “I just care about the animals” while verbally kicking the crap out of me is bullshit.
    It’s rude, it’s a lie, it’s an asshole thing to do.

Understand this…
I have already beat myself up over this.
If the beating I’ve been giving myself were visible on my body, I would be black and blue from head to toe. I have gone over her last day millisecond by millisecond, wondering what I could have done better, what more I could have done, how I could have saved her.
I will carry the guilt of her death until the end of my days.
Even though I did everything that could be done.

We did a necropsy.
I had to know.
It was hard and ugly and there was a lot of (my) tears and a lot of blood.

Her aorta had ruptured.

Y’know what I (or the vet, or a team of vets, or anyone for that matter) could have done to save her?

Nothing.
Even if we had known that it was a possibility, the only thing we could have done was put her down before it happened.
As much as I hate it, would give near onto anything to change it, it was her time.
And when I look back at her last 15 months, look at the patterns of “not herself” moments, I realize, it’s been coming since her very first colic in June 2016. She had been a walking, trotting time bomb that could have blown at any time. I am so damn lucky to have gotten the extra time with her that I did…
This whole time, since that day, I have been treating an arthritic mare with an underlying condition…
http://horsesidevetguide.com/drv/Diagnosis/1127/ruptured-aorta-ruptured-aortic-aneurysm/

And while we all understand that this is something more common (though even then, rare) in older stallions, it’s not unheard of in other horses…and my Girl was anything but a typical horse.
Leave it to her to have something we couldn’t know about until after her death.

Reading the symptoms tab (under my role and things I might observe) I found things that I chalked up to the arthritis…going off her feed for no reason, lethargy, her general “meh” about everything some days…the signs were there, but there was no reason for any of us humans treating her to suspect it.
Hell, it’s not something doctors jump to diagnose in humans either.
Not until ruling everything else out.
And, we all thought that we were treating arthritis…we were.
We just didn’t know there was more, and there was no reason to go searching for more, because she was responding well to the treatments she was getting.
Bear in mind, every where I say “we” I’m including our vet team.
Seriously, it took a team to treat that horse.
😉 ❤

~~~~~~~~~~

And now, for the well-meaning (I hope) ones….

I’m not quitting.
I still have 3 horses who need me and need to be cared for.
We’re not selling them, or the Farm.
We’re not giving up.

I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t crossed my mind. The idea of running away from it all, going back to the city, and protecting my heart from this happening again…

But, see above.
I still have 3 horses who need me.
I made them a promise, and I’m not going back on that.
‘Til the end of their days, they are here.
At Midnight Calico Farm.

That said…

I’m not looking for a 4th horse.
Not now.
Please don’t send me ads, pictures, links.
Like some seem to think they should…
When it’s time, it’s time.
It’s not time right now.
We’re all still hurting, my little herd is in flux, trying to figure out where everyone stands without their 2nd in Command.
Ruby’s confidence is shaken because she doesn’t have her backup.
And her friend.
They were together the longest, from the Rescue, to here.
They were The Paint Alliance, the Painted Ladies for years.

Waiting patiently for the treats in Mom’s pocket…

Cookie and Ruby

Being chased by the Jolly Ball…

Storm Paints

When the time is right, and the Girls have settled, we’ll consider a 4th.
Our pasture can hold and support 4, and so, it will.
We’ll save another from going on a plate or in a dog food can.
Maybe it’ll be another ex-broodie who needs a soft landing and a little (lot of) love…Goddess knows, I have a soft spot for them old gals. ❤
But maybe it’ll be a gelding who needs some TLC.
Or it’ll be a baby.
When the time is right, we’ll know…and we’ll know who.

But not now.
One day.

Here’s to the Broken Ones…

Yesterday we re-lit Cookie’s pyre.
Out here, weather plays a huge factor in everything we do, and last weekend, when we lit her up, the wind came up, and it started to snow.
Keeping the fire burning was more dangerous than leaving her for another week.
Yesterday was a beautiful day.
Cool, but not cold.
No wind.
Quiet and serene.

Hubby pulled out the tiger torch, piled more wood on and around the pyre, poured a little gas for good measure, and lit her up.
Ahh, it was beautiful…for the brief moment before I remembered why we were having this fire.
😥

Friends came out in the afternoon to lend some moral support, tell stories and remember our wonderful Girl.
Have I mentioned we have some incredible friends?
Yeah, we do. ❤
(I’m still hearing about the amazingness of the ribs that were brought out for us last week…Hubby is droolingly in love. 😉 )

Go Cookie, go!

Last night the 3 of us decided a happier bonfire was needed, since it was such a nice night.
We warmed our dinner (home made soup and bread brought by the friends who visited earlier) on the fire, and had a few drinks.

Cookie

At one point Hubby, who has had a hell of time with this…
From his wife and Kid falling apart, to moving her body, doing a necropsy and building and tending the pyre…
As hard as this has been on me to lose her, it’s been as hard on him to deal with the aftermath…
No doubt, I am a Blessed woman to have him.
He’s given me a chance to fall apart and work towards putting myself back together, while having to do some pretty unpleasant things…

Last night, over a roaring bonfire, he stands up, and says:

“Here’s to the Broken Ones. Those horses who are lost until they are found by the Ones who will love them and help them heal.
Here’s to the Ones who find them, and hold tight until their love puts them back together again.”

❤ ❤ ❤

Hell yeah!
Here’s to the Broken Ones…