Me?? What a thought!!

The winter of 2010-11 is passing more swiftly than I would have believed possible, and, far from being ‘the winter of our discontent’, it is turning out to be pretty nice. The temperatures have hardly fallen below the freezing mark in the early morning hours, and the days have been pleasantly warm – though I guess that the proponents of the global warming theories would not like to hear this!

I am glad it’s not too cold, for more reasons than one. My own comfort is, of course, close to my heart, but there is also the comfort of that little bit of equine fluff that now resides in the horse corral, Princess Ayita. I say “princess” because in her own mind, at least, she is quite that. In the mind of her human handlers, that is Danny and me, there are several other names we could at times ascribe to her, the most charitable opinion being that we are happy we have begun halter breaking her on the day she was born.

Princess Ayita

We often pause in this endeavor and congratulate ourselves that we didn’t leave it, as we had with some past babies, until she was several weeks, if not months, old. Ayita promises to be a good, strong horse, with a good, strong mind full of superior opinions about herself, and we know that had we waited, the rodeo would have been worse. As it is, we go out there twice daily, and each time, while the struggle is less, and the performance is improving, it is also evident that there is an intelligent mind in that little knobby head, coupled with a pretty strong will. We keep wistfully reminding ourselves of the fact that the stud is famously even tempered, and comfort ourselves with the fact that the mare, Isha, has turned out to be pretty amiable also, something which had not been evident in her prior life in the herd. Still, I have already made a note to self – this is not a horse that I will be itching to climb onto when she is 3 years old! She has at least doubled in weight since her birth, exactly a month ago today, and we can hardly believe that Danny carried her to the corral from the pasture where she was born. As most horses – and indeed, people – she is very amiable when she is not being asked to do something against her inclination (such as being led around in the hateful halter) and her favorite pastime is sucking on the end of my nose, in the vain hope that milk might come out of it.

Princess Ayita with Danny

During the halter breaking I once scratched her back, and she found that very pleasing. It wasn’t long before she would back up, asking for a scratch, and I always obliged. However, it’s a pastime that can pall on one, so, one day, after a couple of good scratches, I quit. The little snippet looked around, backed up some more, didn’t get her scratch, so backed up again, pinned her ears and let fly with a good kick – take that, human, as punishment for not obeying!! It’s a lucky thing that I know horses and was able to get out of the way quick – and then administered a good whack on the royal bum! No more of that!! And there hasn’t been, but it has made Danny and me mindful of that little rump and its pointy hooves.

Talking of horses, I don’t think I shared this story with you before – I may have, but it’s worth telling twice, even if I did. Some time back Jimmy, whose house is close to the corrals, heard a noise in the middle of the night, some sort of banging. He got out of bed and opened his door – and the banging stopped. So he went back to bed … and the banging began again. It was coming from the corral which houses my special friend, Comanche and his buddy, Tequila, and which is adjacent to the goat pen. When the banging continued, Jimmy put on a jacket and went out. He came to the alleyway which leads through the building to the corral, and saw Comanche standing at the metal gate, rhythmically banging it with his foot. When he saw Jimmy, he stopped banging and walked off towards the back gate. Jimmy followed – and to his amazement, saw one of the goats caught, by his horns, in the gate! Who says horses don’t reason and don’t communicate!

Eve with Comanche

So recently I came home from somewhere, and, looking out my window, saw that the hanging bird feeder was on the ground, empty, and the open-bowl feeder, which in its heyday was a fountain, was not only empty, but licked clean. How odd, I thought – darn squirrels – and how did a squirrel get at the feeder hanging 4 ft. off the ground and knock it down, anyway?? And would a squirrel lick the bowl clean like that? I went to investigate and found tell tale hoof prints all around the house, where some equine presence had been very busy. It dawned on me that this was another proof of deductive reasoning on the part of Comanche. For some time he has been eyeing, across the yard wall, the bird seed put out in front of my window for the benefit of various winged friends, and he has come to the correct conclusion that it consists of stuff very tasty to a horse. The problem was that it is behind two gates, the first one leading to the tiled patio, and the other one out of it to the patch I fancifully call a lawn (when it rains), where the bird seed feeders are installed. Normally the front gate is closed – but on this day, lo and behold, not only the first, but the second gate was open! I could well visualize the scene – the work of a nano-second for a nifty horse to step through both and woof down the bird seed. At the price it is, that was a right royal repast!! By the time I came home, he was, of course, safely out of there and looking angelic someplace down the drive, eating grass. (Me?? What a thought!!) There never is a place that that horse can’t go once he takes a mind to go there. I remember one time when he jumped a 3 ft. stone wall in order to follow me into the bedroom – I recall he was rather frosted that he wasn’t allowed in, after all that effort! Another time, years ago, after I had left him wandering free around the yard, and he was nowhere to be seen when I came home about two hours later, I found him in the feed shed, dining royally on some 300 lbs of oats. To get in there, mind you, he had to open the latch on the door, swing it open, climb up three steps and get inside, turn around in a smallish space and then get to work at getting the feeder lid open. The feeder was an old freezer, so the lid was heavy, but hey, he is a stout horse, and he is no quitter. He kept at it until he got it high enough so that the spring for holding it open took over, and obligingly held the lid up while he dined.

That was an expensive Sunday, what with the veterinarian coming to administer a stomach oil drench, plus all the sedatives I had to take for the next two days watching for signs of founder and God knows what else! Not only that – while all this drama was going on, I had forgotten that I had let the goats out as well, and they had got into the backyard. So, after the vet left, I came home and collapsed on the sofa, just in time to see my little Saanen goat, Tinkerbelle, square up to the sliding glass door in order to kill the goat reflected in it. I leaped up and ran towards it….. too late! Crash – and another few hundred bucks hit the floor. An expensive Sunday, that one. So I guess I was lucky this time to get by with a few dollars’ worth of bird seed!

So I imagine that all the above allays your fears that I would be bored after Grapevine closed. Not so! In fact, I am so busy I can’t for the life of me see how I had the time to spend 14 hours a day at Grapevine …

So now I wish you all a happy 2012, lots of your wishes coming true, and do keep in touch! I read all your comments and enjoy hearing from you.

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15 Responses to Me?? What a thought!!

  1. Marilyn says:

    Well Eve your little princess sounds very interesting, I can quite understand why you would not wish the one to be first on her back, I am sure she will endevour to put a few people on the floor before then. Knowing your love for your animals I am sure she is in for a great many treats before she reaches 3 yrs. Looking forward to seeing her and everyone at the ranch at Easter – already counting the days.
    Happy 2012, keep well
    Marilyn & Dai

  2. Eve says:

    Hi Marilyn – good to hear from you. And have no fear, Her Highness receives daily, with pleasure, as long as you don’t have a halter in your hand. In that case, she retires behind mer mom and plays hide and seek, swap sides, bet you can’t catch me…
    Looking forward to seeing you!!

  3. Natasha says:

    Hello Eve…a new year begun but the feeling of missing the dragoon mountains remained the same…if i would have a lst wish, i would wish to come over spending a week there with you and the horses..how are you doing?? Much love from
    Far away…switzerland…natasha

  4. Linda Borg says:

    Hi Eve
    Glad to hear you are back in the saddle again. My life has been pretty hectic. My mom has cancer, but I’m still smiling, thanks to all of my friends. Would love to see the Dragoons again. Miss all of you.

  5. Claudia says:

    Happy New Year Eve!
    Smart little baby you have, lol
    As allways love your stories ;=) and I agree horses are very smart!

  6. Jenny Childs says:

    Happy New Year Eve,
    I hadn’t realised you are continuing your blog. Glad I have found it though.
    I know what you mean regarding foals. I have a Welsh pony since birth, now coming up to 3. He’s a perfect pony until he doesn’t want to do something then I get a pair of heels at me! I have his mum in foal again to the same sire due in June. The intent is to drive them.
    Keep busy Eve.
    Best wishes

  7. Jerry & Cindy Van Sant says:

    Hi Eve…so glad the princess is doing so good! We’re still going to try and squeeze in a visit soon…have a safe new year, Love, Jerry & Cindy

  8. Dillon Evans says:

    Hi Eve! ;) sorry to hear that you have the place for sale but I’m sure you have your reservations.. I sure miss you the guests the coworkers and the country..hope this finds you in good health! God Bless! ;)

  9. Anita Beaumont says:

    DearEve,
    I posted a message to you thinking I was sending it to you, however, I sent it to my Facebook site. If you want to read it search Anita Beaumont as friends. It is a brief letter that tells about my visit to Grapevine Ranch. Congratulations on your retirement. I will never forget you!
    Wishing you peace and happiness,
    Anita

  10. konnie hocking says:

    Still so sad to never to be able to share Grapevine with my son but happy that all is well with you, Eve. I was fortunate to have been a guest twice. Have actually seen Rusty in action at Big Nose Kate’s a few times. What ever happened to Jen and Adam?. And most of all I hope Cactus Jack went to a good place as he was my love at first sight at Grapevine. Konnie from Florida

  11. Gary Lundgren says:

    I had saved Grapevine in my bucket list, but now I guess I will have to replace it with an alternate destination. You were always responsive and the right time to come just never happened. Wish you well. Hope it finds an owner that can treat it well. Gary – Maine

  12. Eve says:

    Hi Gary – and everyone else!! Sorry that you didn’t make it to Grapevine, Gary – and thank you for your good wishes!

    I sat down today to write the blog and then discovered that my new Mac does not have a suitable program, so have to wait to install it before I can launch into some kind of a written word. However, first, let me tell you that I LOVE my Mac, and wish I had got one a lot sooner. I actually bought (and loved) the very first Mac out, the little fat one, then had two others – later, giving in to the opinions of office staff, switched to PC’s, to my everlasting sorrow. But now I am back with the love of my cybernetic life, and just have to learn a bit more about him – he has got very sophisticated since our last encounter, some 30 years ago! So sit tight – I should be installing the applications early this week, and then I have a lot to tell you!!

  13. Faye Hoese says:

    I just heard of the Grapevine today in talking with my old and dear friend Kate – that is old in the number of years we’ve been friends (37) not that she is old. Wish I could have seen it when it was up and running guest rance – it’s amazing how many wonderful spots there are right here in southeastern Az where I’ve lived for nigh on 40 years. . . I continue to be surprised that I’ve missed so many of them. . . of course I Googled and found great pics, history and your blog.

  14. ron sweet says:

    hi,karen and I came to ranch 3 times,in the past few years.
    as I told you last year she died of cancer in jan2011.
    in her memory I am doing at present, a road trip in the south west of usa at the moment.
    I am going to white stallion ranch for a few days from march 5th,so I will be in tuscon area
    after the 10th,would love to pop in and say hello
    no problem if your busy
    hope you are well,you can email me on gimme3steps@hotmail.co.uk
    mobile is07582053673 regards ron sweet

  15. Becky says:

    Hey Eve This is Becky Dean and Darrall. I see you are still trong as ever. Are you taking guest. If not could we come visit sometime?
    Becky and Darral
    Cell 8347960, Home 520 7449611

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