Sunday, March 22, 2009

flying by the seat of our pants

This week has been chaotic in a lot of ways. Chase, our male Corgi, has a tumor in the same area as a cancerous one that was removed several years ago. While this one appears to be very different, we have to talk to the vet and create a treatment plan. Apollo Moon, our older cat, is having mini-seizures again, and suddenly sneezing off and on, so I've been trying to monitor him more closely the past few days.

My head is swimming with information for feed routines, and equine nutrition.

When I went out to open a new round bale last night, I discovered that both the round bales we had here were wet all the way through and spoiling. It was nearly 7 p.m. on a Saturday night and I had no hay!

My daughter and I managed to fill hay nets with the little bit left from the previous bale, and my husband and son returned home early from a weekend trip so that my husband could go get more hay early this a.m.

I reconfigured feed time last night to try and make the most of what we had, fretting that the temps were dropping to the 20s and the equines would need more than what we had.

In the midst of my worry, I forgot to soak beet pulp for this morning's breakfast.

My husband found the empty pitchers this morning and made up a batch, but by breakfast time, the pellets hadn't yet dissolved. He left to go get a new round bale, and I sat in the feed room, in the middle of the floor, surrounded by feed tubs, picking hot beet pulp pellets apart with my fingers. The horses and donkeys stood in the paddock, ready for breakfast but so patient. Every now and then I heard the chain on the gate being rattled, but I'd told them what was going on, and the usual impatient hubbub never happened. They stood and waited.

I called out periodically to let them know I was still working on the pellets. At some point a goose seemed to be circling the barn, honking repeatedly. Ted Andrews says in his book Animal Speak that the honking of the goose is a call to a quest. It all seemed funny suddenly, me sitting there, all the craziness with the hay and the beet pulp, and all the other things that never truly seem to be quite under my control, even given my tendency to be organized, fooling myself that planning and organizing are enough.

My husband got back with the hay just at the moment I finally served the breakfast tubs, and I realized we'd gone through the feeling of feast, famine, and then feast again within a 12-hour period.

Even with all the chaos, we are having a gorgeous springtime day, and I have spent much of it cleaning one small corner of the dining room, inch by inch, clearly a way of soothing this weekend's unsettling reminder that in fact, we're all pretty much flying by the seat of our pants, on a daily basis.

And remembering that, for the most part, flying by the seat of one's pants is okay.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I always find that no matter how bad it seems at the time, things always seem to work out. Flying by the seat of our pants is okay and I'm glad it is because it seems that's the way most of my days go, no matter how organized I think I am!

billie said...

You're right, Arlene. Thankfully things seem to work out in the end.

Victoria Cummings said...

So where did that expression - flying by the seat of your pants - come from? I live my life doing it, along with "the best laid plans of mice and men". I'll send good healing thoughts to Chase and Apollo Moon. Most days, I find myself stopping at least once to consider that it's all such a delicate balance.

billie said...

Thanks, Victoria. We will feel the good thoughts and welcome them!

I just found this online at the Sydney Morning Herald:

It comes from the sensation of position and movement transmitted to a person's body through the main contact to a fast-moving vehicle. It involves heightened awareness, bought on by adrenaline, where all relative information seems to pass through one's buttocks in preparation for evacuating them.

Gil Lambert, Bundaberg

Before aircraft had instruments, pilots had to rely on their innate sense of balance to detect changes in movements of the plane, transferred to his body by the contact with the seat. This is probably why there was an early change from the Wright Flyer's prone pilot position.

Harry Rowlands, Roseville

Until the development of the "slip/skid indicator" towards the end of WWI, pilots had no instrument to help them turn efficiently - with the aircraft banked but neither "slipping" towards the lower (inside) wing nor "skidding" (with the tail hanging out) towards the outside of the turn. If the aircraft slipped, their bottoms would be sliding "downhill" in their seats. If they skidded, a slight G-force pushed them "uphill".

Martyn Yeomans, West Pymble

It seems in this case the meaning of the phrase was originally literal!

ponymaid said...

Billie, what a terrible ordeal for all! I nearly swooned at the mere thought of even a temporary food shortage. And from the sounds of it, I'm extremely glad I don't wear pants. Are my donkey godsons alright or have they suffered psychological scars from the near miss? Maybe they should go to your office and be allowed to play in the sand box...?

Fretfully yrs,

billie said...

Sheaffer, they are fine. Salina and the donkeys actually had a lot of hay spread in their grass paddock, so they nibbled all night and had hay to spare in the a.m.

And the new bale came by 9:30 a.m., so they never actually missed even a nibble of their usual meal.

It was stressful though! I had images of the 7 of us (me and the equines) wandering the fields like nomads, searching for suitable forage. I suppose it would have been an adventure, and a return to their ancestral roots, but we're all glad we don't have to resort to that! said...

aw....I know that feeling of being one step behind no matter how prepared you try to be. It seems to come with the territory of life with animals.

acceptance of the fact that we have no control, no matter how hard we try is so can only do the best you can, and often, that is not enough if you're prone to worrying about it.

I hope things go well with the Corgi and the kitty and that you are able to get new hay quickly.

billie said...

Thanks - we had actually secured the hay the night before, so there was no worry on that count, and we actually had two options just in case.

I have to say, it meant a lot to me that my husband came home from a weekend trip to make sure the hay got here early in the a.m. on Sunday so there would be no more worrying.