Posts Tagged With: American Quarter horses

Snowy Farm Mornings With The Mares

The one thing that I still miss about the farm is the silent snowy mornings. Moving to town has its advantages in snowy weather… streets get cleared a lot faster and the grocery is a lot closer but something is just not the same, let me explain.

My horses on in the top pasture on a snowy morning.

My horses in the top pasture on a snowy morning.

When you own livestock you never get a snow day. So the mornings for me always started early even in the cold. I would get up early, like all farm families do, so I could get the feeding done before work and school would take the day.

Dressed in my coveralls, hat, and gloves, I head out of the back door of the farm-house. I cross the back porch and hear the first crunch of the snow on a step. Walking my way to the barn across the yard I look for them but can not see them in the top pasture. Even though the barn doors are always open the herd of four quarter horse were never in the barn until feeding time.

Even if they heard me tracking slowly through the snow they never moved. They stand at the farthest point away from the barn on the top of the hill. I holler at the top of my lungs”Here Girls!” and get no response. Just the quite… no cars or trucks, no snow plows (sometimes for days), no other person for miles was outside on a 12 degree morning. I reluctantly fill the feed buckets with two heaping scoops of sweet-smelling grain. I Complain to myself about walking up the bank into the pasture to looking for them.

You do it to make sure that everything is alright if they do not come in. Horses trapped in fences, cases of colic and babies born in the open all happen when humans are not looking. Today was not going to be one of those days. I open the gate with the frozen chain and hear it bang as I swing it through the snow and across the frozen ground and into the pasture. The hill blocks my view. No knickers or neigh for me to hear from the group, just my snow boots crunching up the slope to the orchard trees.

Annabell in snow at the farm in Jane Lew

Annabell in snow at the farm in Jane Lew,West Virginia.

Past the orchard trees, I finally see the huddled mares in the upper corner of the field. Snow only ankle-deep and they still do not want to move. “Come on Girls!” I yell again, this is ridiculous I think as the wind blows the quiet snow in my eyes.  I give in and walk to top of the hill and discover I am out of breath and breathing hard. The steam I blow matches the clouds that surrounds them. They breath in and out almost in time and the moisture from the four 800 pound bodies rises into the air. They see me and two heads turn as I finally come close enough to actually touch the snow-covered beasts.

Their winter coats are such good insulation against the cold that snow flakes dance on top of the longest hairs of each animal. Icicles form on the whiskers of each damp muzzle and each wet eye lash. The mares do seem to mind the cold and seem more at home in the winter snow.

Daisy with skippy in snow

Daisy with Skippy in the snow on the Jane Lew farm.

For the small herd, standing and sleeping is more comfortable than slipping down the hill to the barn. I can’t blame them, they have stood together most of the night and have melted some of the snow on the ground . I sneak up close to the oldest mare and slide my gloved hand across her back and talk softly and she murmurs back to me. I get close and feel the warmth of her 100 degree body against me. Warmth and friendship, could life get better for her?

The others push closer to me, nose to nose, they breathe me in and I, them. The smell of the mare’s breath and coats is warm, round and deep. It is the smell of the summer dirt, fresh-cut hay and dark warm stalls.They smell of old barns and fresh shavings,of carrots and cookies, of sunshine and creek water. I kiss each nostril in turn.

Hidden in my coat pocket is a lead rope that I slide around the old mare’s neck. I clip it under her chin… more imagination than rope. I lead her and she willingly follows me down. The younger horses gallop back and forth across the field, bounding, bouncing, jumping and twisting.

Horses Playing in the snow

Horses Playing in the snow

Play time for the young and feed time for the old. I walk her through the gate to the barn, each following her lead without a fight. Her head lowers into the bucket and she blows out the air in her lungs as if to sigh. The rattle of those buckets is the only sound for miles. The sun rises to the shifting sounds in my barn. I toss hay into each stall as the last of the gain gets lipped out of old buckets.

My chore is almost done. The water is thawed and waiting when they finish their meal. The gate is locked up tight. I am alone again in my walk back across the large yard. My cheeks are cold and frosty but my heart is warm. I think to myself…. “Love You Girls” as I hear the squeaky snow under my boot.

 

Categories: Country life, Farm work, Friendship, Horses, Jane Lew, Memories, snow, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Collections, Memories, My favorite things.

Now that the move is over and the boxes put away it is time to try to make a house a home. I have been feeling better and slowly trying to figure out where everything goes. Some things are finally taking shape and others are still in a stage of ” When we get time”. One of my favorite projects every time we move is how and where to display some of the wonderful things that we have collected over the 27 years that Tom and I have known each other.

Over the first 18 years of my marriage, Tom and I raised horses on his parents farm. We breed, trained, showed  American Quarter horses. We raised our older son on farm work and feeding animals. It was a good life, but by the second baby ( 17 years later) it was just more work them I could handle alone. I was the main care taker of the farm and our 9 horses 12 chickens 3 dogs  2 geese and one cat. I just did not enjoy the work any more and Tom just could not be home to help due to his long hours at work and weekend business. So as time passed we sold off all of the horses gave the chickens away and said good-bye to the farm. So as a tribute to my husbands love of horses and his farrier (blacksmith) business I took what most people hide away in tact boxes and Rubber Maid Totes and made him a hall of good memories. The hall grew out of things that we had collected over the 18 years we had the farm and horses. He loves it and so does Cody. Cody has many great memories on the farm and was happy to see that we had not gotten rid of everything when we moved.

Horse decor with trophies and photos

Horse decor with trophies and photos

I was lucky that I had saved my son Cody’s pony blanket, it worked out as a nice backdrop for our trophies.  I also added the spurs that my father made back in the Seventy’s. He was a welder and loved the old west and loved to make things. So the result is a pair of wire edged dragon spurs. I don’t think anyone ever used them on a horse but they sure look nice. The photos are of some of our wonderful babies. Tom and I always loved to work with the young ones and we won a few shows with them.

Horse decor photos of Tom

Horse decor photos of Tom

I also wanted to show off some of his horse shoes and a bandanna that I made him for when he worked in bad weather. I added an old feed sack and a wonderful photo of Tom working on an anvil and farrier school. The bits are ones we have used over the years and make us think of the mares we rode with them.  All these things remind me of some of the best times in our married life and I am glad I could make it for him.

Then I moved into the kitchen and tried to find a reasonable way to display my collection. I guess we all have funny things we collect and mine is dishes and /or plates. I started my collection in the 80’s while traveling and it just continues to grow every year. I have plates from all the places I have visited in Europe and the US. Some are fine china and others are pewter or stone ware but all of them have some kind of connection to a time or place that Tom and I have shared over the years. I am sure many of you have collections of souvenirs, my father had stones from many of the places he went and when he passed he had a large “rock collection”. A friend collects shot glasses from her travels and some collect spoons, or decks of cards. Some times the items in our collections help us remember a place better and sometimes a great story to go along with the item.

 

kitchen wall full of plates

kitchen wall full of plates

jubilee chine from England

Jubilee china from England

 

Delft transfer ware wooden shoe maker

Delft transfer ware wooden shoe maker Holland

Tier Germany Volks Marching plates

Trier, Germany Volks Marching china plate

West Virginia State Park stoneware plate, Holly River State Park image

West Virginia State Park stoneware plate, Holly River State Park image

What do you collect? What kind of memories do they hold for you or are they just for the fun of collecting. How did your collection start. As I said above mine started as a way to remember some of the places I have traveled and grew from that. Let me know that I am not alone in having way to much stuff and not enough room to share it all!

I also want to thank Holly over at Redterrain for the idea of talking about objects we love and why we love them. She has a wonderful Photography blog of her home in Australia and she wanted to know if her readers had some object that we have a deep connection to… and as you can see I just wanted to show her my Plate collection. I love them and they are one of the few things in the this world I would miss if I had to give them up.

Categories: About me, collections, Collector Plates, Dishes, family memories, heirlooms, Home Decor, Horses, Memories, nostalgic, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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