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July18, 2012: The Good Weather Blues

It’s a beautiful day outside. Yesterday and today, both have felt like summer. On days like these (which are rare around here) sitting down and writing is near impossible. It requires that I dig down deep. I continue to honor what my teacher Donald Murray often said, “Never a Day without a Line.” This way, I increase the odds of something interesting materializing. I just never know how it’s going to go. Actually, I know that if I sit down to write at 11 p.m. that the odds are I won’t come up with much that is any good. But you never know. Writing at night worked for Richard Seltzer, who was a surgeon, and couldn’t give up his day job. His writing at night gave his work a surreal quality.

Dispatches are a summer priority. It’s cool, people are reading them. Yesterday I worked with Jokla, the Stoffel’s horse. And in passing, Mariann remarked that she’d read the last two postings. Having readers who are familiar with my ongoing story is going to pave the way for a larger readership for Raudi’s Story. At this point in time, Chris Romano, who does the cartoons for the Icelandic Horse Quarterly, is working on the illustrations. Her visuals complement the main ideas in the various chapters. I’ve never before worked closely with an illustrator. I’m very much enjoying the process.

Raudi crashed in the sun

She lives in California, and we met once. I would like to meet her again, and watch her work. She does her work on computer, and uses overlays. Raudi’s Story is going to be an e-book. I prefer my work to appear in print, but what’s most important is that I be able to keep writing.

Yes, sitting still for any great length of time has gotten more difficult. I must finish cleaning tack. I usually do this in the late winter/early spring, but this year I didn’t have the time. I don’t know what I was doing, maybe writing dispatches and learning photography. This weekend’s competitive trail ride is now a motivator. It’s to the horses’ benefit to (for example) to have clean saddle pads, otherwise, there’s increased chaffing and rubbing. The added benefit is that we’ll look sharp this weekend. I’ll feel good about this. I knew that I had a lot to clean, and that my powers of concentration are at a low point, which was why I decided to do a little bit every day. I’ve now cleaned halters, bridles, and saddle pads, and I’ve put necessary incidentals into my fishing vest. I still have two saddles and two pairs of boots to clean.

In the meantime, Charlene Schmidtkunz is on her way over. She has agreed to watch the place this weekend. Pete and I have made a list of the things that need to be done in our absence. As we worked on it (me filling in the animal part, and him filling in the garden part), it occurred to me that there’s a lot to do around here. This is what happens when two over achievers buy 2.5 acres of land. And being over achievers, we’ve unconsciously come up with operating procedures that complement our loopy lifestyle.

For example:

Dogs – Rainbow’s going to need to be sequestered in the fenced in upper yard, otherwise she might bolt through the surrounding electric fence. If she escapes, rattle the treat bucket. She’ll come running.

Horses – Signy (the one remaining behind) is still a lactating mama. This means that her nutrient requirements are higher than they would be for the other horses. So she’ll need to be fed three times a day. Poop is also going to need to be bucketed and put outside the gate. And the water buckets will need to be filled thrice a day. The water will be in buckets, outside the pen.

Goats and Chickens -- If by change the goats escape, they can be enticed back in their pen with grain – best to put it on a trash can lid, so that they can hear the rattling sound as you shake it.

Gardens – I left this one to Pete. But, for instance, the hoop house door will need to be opened if it’s hot out, and closed if it’s cold out. The upper, middle, and lower gardens might also need water, which is if it doesn’t rain.

Inside water situation – I also left this one to Pete.

I used to chuckle when I saw detailed house sitter lists. I’m not chuckling now because our list is really quite detailed. It makes me realize that we adapt and adopt, taking care of the ins and outs without thinking about it. For instance, this morning I let Raudi and Siggi out the rear gate, to graze, and after shutting said gate, put hay in the large enclosure. I then opened the small enclosure gate and Signy and Hrimmi went into the large enclosure to eat. This worked. But there are no guarantees. If say, Signy (who wasn’t wearing a halter) ran off, I’d have to catch her. And this might take considerable time.

Coming up with a house sitting list is sort of like writing out directions for someone. I learned in giving out directions to our place that providing extraneous details is counterproductive. It’s far better to focus on the big picture, and allow the visitor to fill in the blanks.

I’ve now been working on this dispatch for an hour. I’m so antsy that I can hardly contain myself. I’m shifting my weight around, and looking out the window. But I’m pleased with what I’ve come up with here. This, I think is one of my better dispatches, for I’ve made some rather large cognitive leaps while at the same time, maintaining the connections between them. This would not have happened if I’d blown off writing this dispatch, or waited until later this evening to do this. I would give myself a pat on the back, but my hand does not reach that far.

Next: 223. July 19, 2012: Dreams