Sunday, March 30, 2008

(more) close encounters of the bird kind

ADDENDUM: I completely forgot that there was a very interesting bird encounter earlier on Saturday, when my husband and I went to the grocery store. We stopped by a pet store that happened to be right by the grocery, and were both dismayed to find that it is one of the older style pet stores, with puppies, kittens, and many birds in tiny plexiglass cages.

I hadn't seen a store like that in a long time, and I was walking around getting more and more agitated, looking for the brand of cat food we use and thinking that even if I found it I wouldn't likely buy it. I no longer support that kind of pet store. Near the back of the store I stopped at the end of an aisle and saw a huge parrot on a perch. Immediately I thought "oh, you poor thing, if I could buy you and get you out of here I would."

The moment I thought that the parrot said "hello???" - just as if it were answering me. I had to get out of there fast. My heart was breaking.

Hopefully M. will post a link to some of Rupert Sheldrake's work on telepathy with animals in a comment.


Yesterday on the way to buy cat food, my husband and I had a bird encounter together. We had been talking about wild turkeys - he'd seen a gorgeous male on his way home from work last week - and had been trying to nail down between us where exactly he'd seen it. Yesterday, just as we came to the place I'd described to him earlier (but not where he'd seen the turkey last week) we rounded a curve and there he was!

We pulled off the road and managed to get a photo, since my photographer husband always travels with a well-charged camera.

Shared blessings and harvest, spirituality and the honoring of the Earth.

Further along on our little journey we saw a flock of black vultures on the side of the highway and noted them. We talked about black vultures versus turkey vultures and how we both think they're quite regal. We got off the highway and decided to follow a side road to check out a 693-acre parcel of land for sale, calculating how much it might cost and what we'd do with it if we could buy it. At the end of the side road we came full face with the same black vultures, who flew up and into a tree when we stopped.

The vulture was viewed by the Greeks as a descendant of the griffin, a symbol of heaven and earth. The vulture is seen as a guardian of the mysteries of life and death. In alchemy, the vulture was a symbol of sublimation.

It was quite fun to see more birds after this week's bounty.

On the way home we stopped by the local indie bookstore and I noticed a sign for an upcoming author appearance. Joe Camp will be coming in May to read from and sign his new book out April 29th called The Soul of a Horse.

When we got home I checked out his website, Naked Horsemanship, and was excited to find that his journey learning about living with horses in many ways parallels my own. I'm eager to read his book and I highly recommend his website as a wealth of information and resources for living "naked" with horses.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

wind and rain

The wind is blowing in cooler temps and what looks like a couple days of rain. The rain hasn't arrived yet, but we've got total cloud cover and temps 30 degrees cooler than yesterday.

We went out this morning geared up to get all the barn chores done early, right after breakfast. I had to call them in, which is rare, but everyone ate and then went back out while we cleaned water troughs, mucked, scrubbed feed and water buckets/tubs, and got things set up for them in case they need to be brought in early today.

Rafer Johnson got a sudden and very wild hair. He was running circles in the back field at top speed, getting the geldings riled up and Salina brought herself to the safety of the paddock. He ran and bucked and leaped and jumped and doubled back. It was hilarious. Once he'd gotten that wild hair out he helped himself to a nice long drink and then went to the salt lick.

The fun was NOT over however.

Once Rafer settled down the geldings started up. Running, bucking, rearing, striking. They tried to run their usual races in the paddock but one look from Salina sent them back out to the field. We watched until they settled down. As usual, Keil Bay stopped first, then Apache. Cody kept going, trying to get any one of them to rev back up with him, but he was out of luck.

I'm glad they all got some exercise before it gets wet and muddy and slippery. There will be no riding today!

We got the shavings pile covered, checked the hinges on all the stall doors to make sure they're secure, and came in to enjoy some more Saturday morning.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

partying down on November Hill

I so wish my camera battery wasn't dead and that I could find the power cord, which has been found (for me) and misplaced (by me) twice this week already.

Horses were in the back field with fresh hay around 4:15. Around 5 I happened to walk by the bedroom window and noticed Salina was in the FRONT field. The front field is off limits until the end of April so it can rest and so the grass can mature. It looks quite lovely with the spring grass coming in.

I couldn't imagine why she was out there, but I ran out to check. They had busted right through the gate and were having a big old party. Keil Bay had redbud blossoms all over his back. Rafer Johnson was running and bucking with pure mischief in his eye.

They were not happy about being marched out one by one. Rafer was simply herded out as he was too excited to be caught.

I suppose I started this whole thing this morning when I sang Happy Birthday to Salina and told the geldings to make sure she had a good day.

Happy 25th, Miss Salina Girl - your herd gave you a nice happy hour!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

on another note entirely - bird totems

I'm keenly aware of the close encounters I have with birds, and often consult Ted Andrews' wonderful book Animal Speak to read up on what these encounters might have to say to me.

Today I had three separate sightings. This morning two ravens were right by the barn when I went out, and they flew up into a nearby tree where they stayed while I fed breakfast. Ravens have to do with omens and magic, shapeshifting and creation.

A little later I walked outside and a red-tailed hawk flew out of the butterfly bush right by the door. It circled the house and barn 7 times before flying away. These are messenger birds, catalysts, with ties to the kundalini, primal life force. It portends extending the vision of one's life.

This evening a heron flew overhead. Herons symbolize balance and the ability to progress and evolve. It speaks to following one's own path.

Keil Bay was surrounded by blackbirds today, right up by the barn while I groomed him. Blackbirds are symbols of omens and mysticism. They flew away when I approached and returned each time I left to get another brush.

Lots to simmer as the week unfolds.

trim notes

I'm using this space as a sort of hoof diary - it helps me to write up the trims each time so I can track progress and organize my thoughts about feet.

Keil Bay - I am so excited about the progress we're seeing. His front hooves are beginning to get nice and round instead of oblong and narrow, as the heels continue to spread out. As this happens, he's landing solidly on the heels more and the tiny centerline cracks are growing out. The frog tissue is getting healthier. Really good to see.

Salina - She is no longer stumbling in front - something we had attributed to the arthritic knees, but as it turns out the hoof wall was too thick.

Rafer Johnson - His first trim with us - went very well. A little testing of the boundaries but with our trimmer's patient, loving demeanor and daughter's praise and reward with carrot pieces, he is now trimmed and balanced.

Cody - Wonderful progress. Soles are thickening and there is NO more soreness after trimming. He is learning to relax and enjoy the trim.

Apache Moon - His feet continue to be great. A little bit cheeky today but lots of praise and pats when he relaxed got him through. I noted that his feet sound different when the rasp touches them - it's a more solid, musical sound. Good feet - good tone?