Monday, July 3, 2017

A Mule, A Scorpion, and a Laugh or Two

The Mule is working out really well.  I was worried that after spending all that money, it, like most solutions, would turn out to be more of a hassle than it was worth, but that hasn't been the case.  I have so much more energy to do barn chores now that I don't have to walk everywhere.  I previously would take shortcuts because my leg was in too much pain or I was too hot.  The poor horses weren't getting their grain every day because I was too exhausted to take one more trip to the tack room, but now it's easy with the Mule.

In the past, I wouldn't attempt to clean up piles of manure that were too far away for me to walk through sand unless it was cool out and I felt better than normal.  Now I'm happy to see that Gabbrielle walked all the way to the far end of the paddock to poop, because it gives me an excuse to drive more.  I'm also happy to see that she pooped one more time in her stall right after I cleaned it, because it gives me an excuse to drive back to the barn.  I feel sad when there's nothing left to do and it's time to return the Mule to the garage.

My middle-aged mind causes me to forget things a lot.  I usually remember what I forgot after I've locked everything up and am limping back to the house.  I've gotten so frustrated that I've given up and said I'll do it another day.  However, with the Mule, I'm happy to turn around and go back for whatever I forgot.  It's quick, easy, and pain-free.  I don't even feel hot when I'm driving it, because I'm creating my own wind to cool me down.  One more reason why I didn't want a windshield.  Now I know why so many people drive motorcycles around here in the summer months.  It's like creating your own air conditioning.

However, I've learned to pay close attention to where I turn around.  The owner's manual warns you multiple times not to drive across a slope, because the vehicle will tip over and roll.  It's hard to avoid that on my property, because I live in a bowl, so the entire perimeter is sloped.  I turned around on a slope to go back for something I forgot, and the right front tire on the uphill side started to go over a squirrel mound.  All my weight was in the left, downhill side of the vehicle and I could feel it starting to roll.  I immediately let off the gas, and it rolled backwards off the squirrel mound and up-righted itself.  Then I put it in reverse to get away from the mound before finishing my turn.  That would have been a disaster, because we can't get the thing insured until after the holiday.  Note to self:  Do not buy vehicles over four-day holiday weekends.

Gabbrielle is still nervous around the Mule, and I spooked Bombay when I fired up the engine behind him, so I'm now saying the words, "Here we go!" in a certain tone to cue the horses right before I start the engine.  They seem to appreciate the forewarning.  Rock and Lostine remain unfazed by it.  I had the thought the other day that perhaps Rock has been fed from a side-by-side in one of his past lives, which would explain why he ran toward it when he saw it.  After all, he is a ranch horse -- not a show Arab.

I tipped over Rock's water trough to dump it out, and a huge scorpion ran out from underneath it.  I kept spraying it with poison to keep it away from me.  Poison slows them down, but won't kill them.  It kept running at me with its pincers opening and closing, and its tail curled up over its back poking at me.  With all the pain I've been in, the last thing I needed was to be stung by a scorpion.  I was also trying to keep it away from the horses.  I had to leave it alone for a minute to go do something, and when I came back, it was gone.  My husband and I looked for it, and gave up.  A short time later, I nearly stepped on it and jumped back, then cut a wide wake around it.  My husband saw from the window and came out to kill it.  I usually don't like to kill animals, but this one was being a danger to me and my horses.  So, I could sleep that night knowing no one was getting stung down at the barn.  The scorpions burrow under the water troughs to keep cool in the summer.

We stopped and talked with our neighbor when we were passing each other in our trucks, and he told me why there was a cop parked in front of his house the other night.  Someone on an ATV had been cutting the fence and racing around on the bridle trails every evening.  I could hear the engine at night and saw the tire tracks and destroyed plant life in the daylight, but didn't have it in me to go out there and get a description to give to the police.  I'm glad someone else did it.  So, the officer was being proactive and doing a stakeout to try to catch the guy.  That explains why he was out of his jurisdiction.  The bridle trails were within his jurisdiction, even though our street was not.  I haven't heard that ATV engine since, so the police presence was effective.

I asked my neighbor if he had seen the previous owner of my home around recently, and he said, "No, and I'm glad.  If I don't ever see that guy again, it won't be soon enough."

We had a good laugh over that.  The previous owner of my home was schizophrenic, so he had quite the reputation in our neighborhood.  He was often aggressive toward other people.  I told my neighbor about our garage being burglarized and the only items missing were what belonged to the previous owner.

My husband and son got a banter going over the phone the other day that had me in fits.  My husband and I had been talking about all the medical care we've been having to get recently just to function, and our son said, "Take care of yourselves.  I don't want you to end up in a nursing home."

My husband said, "Hell no, we're coming to live with you."

Our son said, "Well, first I have to get married and have a kid of my own, and dump him on you to take care of."

My husband said something like, "Good.  Then I can have someone to be ornery with."

Our son said, "You'd be mean to my child?"

You could just hear the gears turning in his head as he was thinking, "Note to self:  Keep all grandchildren away from grandparents."

My husband said, "Yeah, I'd yell at him, 'What are you doing over there cleaning up his shit?  Come on over here and clean up my shit!'"

I guess "his shit" was referring to one of the dogs.  I nearly died laughing.  Not only do our lives currently revolve around cleaning up dog and horse poop, but the thought of us aging humans being in diapers and having to get our toddler grandchildren to change our diapers is hysterical.  Young adults are waiting longer to get married and have kids nowadays, mainly because of the lousy economy and financial burdens, so by the time either of our kids get married and have children, my husband and I will probably be in diapers.

That whole conversation led to my husband remembering something, and he turned to me and said, "Oh yeah.  By the way, Lostine has diarrhea."

I sighed.  That mare always has diarrhea, and it doesn't help that I've been feeding the horses psyllium to get sand out of their guts.

My husband and I are moving so slow now, that my closet has become the dookie station for the dogs.  They ask to be taken out once, and if we don't immediately drop everything we are doing or if we walk too slow to the back door, they run for my bedroom closet.  I decided that's as good a place as any.  I only spend 30 seconds a day in there, so I don't care if it smells bad.  I promise, we'll replace all the floors in the house once Scrappy and Midge are gone.  Right now, though, these dogs are working on their tenth or eleventh lives, so I suspect it will be another couple of years before I'll know what it is like to live in a clean home that doesn't smell like a New York subway.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad the mule is working out so well for you. I used mine today to drag the riding rings.

lytha said...

Holy crap don't tip the mule over!
Every time I see an old-time tractor go by, with no top bar, I worry about those people. And underage kids are allowed to drive them!