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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring has arrived!

The sun is shining, the crocuses are blooming, and the paddocks are awash in mud—yep, it's definitely spring. Bessie is enormous and I'm starting to worry, seriously rather than in jest, that she's carrying more than one foal. There's only six and a half weeks to go till her due date and I'm praying hard that she carries whatever's in there to term, whether it's one foal or two—she quite seriously looks about ready to explode at this point and is far bigger than Mist ever was. After hearing from Marilyn Vander Wekken last month about the twins she got from one of her young mares, born a month prematurely—with only one survivor, a handsome buckskin colt—I can't stop thinking about the possibility, however unlikely it might be... and even Dr. Tusch commented that Bessie's unusually large when he was here a week ago. All we can do is wait, though, and keep her under close watch. The one encouraging thing is that Bess doesn't seem at all uncomfortable or have difficulty moving despite her bulging belly—she certainly is quick enough to head for the barn at day's end, particularly when the weather is nasty!

Beyond that, all is well. Stevie is doing GREAT in his training, and he's now being long-lined by Robyn, who is teaching Mark as well so that Mark can continue with the training here on the farm once we have our newer paddock enclosed. He'll make a fantastic cart horse (Stevie, not Mark). Ray is growing well—at not quite two, he's equal in size and muscle to Stevie, if a little narrower yet. He's been feeling his "stallion-hood" and tests Mark on a regular basis, but is generally fairly relaxed for a young stallion. We'll be putting him to Maggie this spring—not sure what will come of it, if anything, but they're a good match and even if she doesn't "take", she's likely to be the best "instructress" for him when it comes to the respectful way to approach a mare. She's far from a dominant mare and won't likely hurt him (as Mist might, if he annoyed her enough) but she also won't take any crap from him. So we'll see how it goes.

The dogs are relieved that the weather has improved too—we finally gave up the idea of having them all in the house together (too much damage was being done, with Phoenix and Sam being the worst culprits) and created a "doggy bedroom" in one bay of the garage. That entailed building a five-foot wall with a gate (Griffin would go over anything smaller) across the  garage, cutting a hole in the garage wall for a door to the back yard (and putting a wooden ramp in when it became clear that Sam was too small and Bantry too dumb to make the 2-foot jump up to the doorframe), and setting up a bunch of crates, bowls, water jugs, toys, and an old carpet so they could lie on the concrete floor in comfort even when it's cold outside (they'll appreciate that cold concrete come summer, for sure). The dogs LOVE it. They can come and go as they please, get out of the weather when it's unpleasant, and rough-and-tumble without getting yelled at—yet they're in the presence of us people on a regular basis. I take one dog out now and again for personal time (today was Sam's turn), and that seems to work out well, although if Griffin had his way he'd spend all his time with me licking my face. He's such a sweetie. Funny how he's terrorized most of the people who encounter him—the new UPS guy, Kayla's most recent boyfriend, my mother. They all seem to think he's scary, when the only dog anyone needs to worry about is Jo Jo! But I'm not upset about that—if the whole town knows we have a big, scary dog on the premises, it makes it less likely that some adventurous burglar is going to come to OUR farm. And Griffin's don't-mess-with-me bark tells me that anyone coming in who shouldn't would have a fairly unpleasant encounter to face.


2:16 pm edt 

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