Friday, July 29, 2011


Ben with Tess the day she arrived.

Today I am:

{blue} The morning feeding out in the pasture felt huge and empty without my girl Tess. It's impossible to not be reminded of her in every little thing. In time I know this will pass. But for now I am aching.

{quiet} Boys still sleeping, heavy fog outside. Weed is no longer calling for his girl. Even the birds are quiet this morning.

{planning} A long list of sewing and knitting projects ahead. Organizing my craft areas (again). A workshop I'll be teaching for new homeschoolers at the HSC conference one week from this morning.

{exhausted} From days of crying and saying good bye to my horse.

{expectant} Picking up my little one (not so little, I'll admit) from a week at camp. I'm expecting big smiles and lots of dirt!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

She earned her wings

Today I said good bye to my girl, Tess. We had two and half sweet years together, but they were two and a half years of pain and discomfort for her and anguish for me. Last week I made the difficult decision to end her life before she got to the point of complete agony. Some have told me it was the brave thing to do, I just know that hard as it was for me, it was right.

Tess came to me at age 16 with a long history of hard labor behind her. In her 19 years she was a rodeo horse, a pack horse, a dude horse, and my horse. For me, she was my very first horse after over 40 years of wishing and dreaming of having one. For me, she was my girl...the only other girl on Three Boys Farm. She was sweet and calm and expressive. She'd say hi to me every morning when I came down to feed her her breakfast. She'd rub my arm with her lip when I massaged her back. She'd blow warm air onto my face when she sniffed at me to say hello.

I could tell you the whole long story about what was wrong with her and how these past two and a half years were mostly spent in search of the treatment that would heal her poor feet. But it's technical and honestly, I don't have the energy to do it. What I want to tell you is that having her in my life was a blessing and I am only regretful that she had to live so long with so much pain.

Tess tolerated the donkeys, but she loved our old guy Weed, our gentleman border horse who came to live with us two winters ago specifically to keep each other company. They fell in love over a fence and spent the last two years like an old married couple. Every evening I'd let him out of his side pasture (where he was fed his high calorie diet) and he'd romp into the main pasture (where she'd eat her low carb diet), go straight to his girl and usher her into the barn shed for the evening. "Go home, Woman," you could practically hear him say. They were both chestnut quarter horses (though she was a papered Appaloosa...however without any spots!) and they looked like bookends. He would move her around the pasture whenever he wanted...go here, go there...he was her boss.

Tonight he walks the pasture calling and calling for her.

It breaks my heart to hear him.

We'll all adjust, Weed will adjust, but it will take time. Weed will remember the donkeys are there (he seems entertained by them) and will bond more, maybe even usher them into the shed, if they'll listen. I'll miss my girl every morning when I go out to feed and clean. I'll miss her whinny and her soft sweet hay smelling breath, her dark copper coat and her beautiful long tail that swept the ground. I'll miss seeing my horse, the one I always wanted, when I look out my window. But I'll be comforted in knowing it never got to the point where her feet hurt so much she couldn't get up. That is a good thing.

Tess earned her Pegasus wings. She worked so hard in her life and she endured a lot. Our two and half years together were a peaceful end to that life. 

(A big thank you to Mark and Joanna for being right there with me at the end...and to all my friends and my sister, Mara, for checking in with me and making sure I was ok. I love you all!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A month done and gone

A month has passed.
My oldest chick has returned to the nest, having stretched his wings and grown in ways that are immediately evident and ways we have yet to see. It was an amazing month for him full of new sights and experiences. I was warmed to see how well he knew himself in the face of new opportunities, how brave he was in undertaking new challenges, and I was also reminded that "no matter how far you go, there you are." He is who he is who he is. Just as I am, of course, but why is this lesson so hard to learn?

I hope you followed along on his blog, as this one was totally silent (sorry) and he has a wonderful writer's voice. This makes me extremely happy, chip off the old block and all that, but I so wish my dad were alive to read it, too. Harry's grandmas both loved it and drank it up daily. (It was wonderful to be so close to the action and he was faithful in getting posts out almost every day.) That helped to assuage their worries about our boy so far away in a big, scary city! (I can say it helped me, too!) But, his Papa Joel would have enjoyed the storyteller in his grandson and the adventurer in a new port. He was like that himself. And loved to live vicariously.

This past month I have had writer's block, I suppose. And the longer I go with no words on the page, the harder it is to encapsulate all that's passed. There have been many moments I've thought "Oh that'd make a wonderful blog post." But alas, I never got the words out.

During the month Toby went to camp again for two weeks by himself and had a blast. Toby is known for his happy nature and will have fun wherever he goes.

During the month Ben went to stay with Nana and then Cousin Ruthie and then several different wonderful friends. He cooked, baked, chatted, played games, chilled, meditated, played more games (and video games), watched fireworks, camped and LARPed. And that was only one week out of four!

During that month Mark and I went away for our "second honeymoon" as he so lovingly referred to it. Despite the fact that he had just thrown his back out moving hay bales and was in terrible pain, we still had a wonderful time at Rancho Pescadero. We relaxed and relaxed and relaxed. Jumped (okay, hobbled slllooowwly) into the pool, sat on our terraced deck and listened to the waves on the shore, watched the waves on the shore for that matter! It's the most relaxing I've done in, well, my whole life I think. And it was much needed. Mark also visited a chiropractor while we were there...a well recommended ex-pat surfing chiropractor who worked his magic on Mark a couple times. Finally, a couple weeks later Mark is feeling somewhat better. Sigh. We're getting old!

Summer moves on. More to tell later. Thanks for your patience!