Ride 39: Busy Day, Rode Rags Anyway

Following the good news at the vet’s, I planned of course to ride as soon as the horses had had their day or two off to recover from all those shots and the dental work.  Next day, Tuesday, I had a trip to the dentist’s and didn’t feel like riding.  Besides, they were both obviously not feeling particularly well.  Tigger looked worse, moving very stiffly and wincing as he lowered his neck to his hay.   Typical Tigger, he didn’t want to be fussed over, though.  The second day, Rags was clearly feeling pretty good but Tigger was still moving stiffly and lacking his usual energy.  Meanwhile we’d had nasty storms, including a tornado, that missed most of the town, but made a mess out of my contractor’s place–not the house, but the barn and other outbuildings.  So he didn’t call Wednesday to look at the rotty floor; he had his own problems.  We got hardly any rain, but we did get maybe 15 minutes of sizable hail making dents in the ground.  This does not help a sore horse feel better, being pummeled by ice rocks (and no, he doesn’t stay in during hailstorms; a metal barn is LOUD in hail.  And the weather, rather than “breaking” and giving us a break, stayed cloudy, humid, and very warm…and also very windy (trees thrashing around.)  The contractor came later in the week, and told us how he’d have to approach the problem, which meant moving a lot of things, including the old china cabinet, somewhere else (the living room is now rather densely populated.)  We started working on that even before he got there, but then there was more.

So I didn’t get another ride until today, which broke clear and cool and lovely…except the contractor had said (once we finally made contact) that he’d be by again on Monday or Tuesday.   So I needed to be home, at least until  9:30 or 10, because if he’s not here by then he’s not coming.  In the meantime I’d arranged to drive into the city for a couple of errands later this week, and would need to be “in” on Tuesday (same contractor) and Thursday (plumbing contractor at other house.)  If anything else showed up (it has, already: the city inspection of the new solar additions to the house roof, on Wednesday), it would be difficult to get one of the errands done in time: signing a book for a friend who dropped it off at another friend’s house on Sunday and planned to pick it up at their house on Friday.  So I took the chance to go in today.   Errand #2 should’ve been easy peasy on the way home, stopping by a big-box store to pick up a standard item, but…I missed my exit.  The friend babysitting the book to be signed had given me a huge piece of cake for R-, full of berries I can’t have that much of (or the cake either)  and I needed to keep the cake cool…so trying to find my way back from the street I *maybe* could’ve gotten to the store in question was going to be longer than I wanted.

Got home before school let out, tired as usual from the drive int0, drive around in, and drive home from the city.  Since I’d spilled a drink in the car, I changed out of those jeans and started a wash of the other jeans and the pair I was wearing, shirts, underclothes, etc., then changed into my riding tights.  Fed the critters at 4-4:30, rode at 6:30, a medium ride up to the dry woods, across the front of same, with Rags insisting Tigger was calling and he had to go back.  I’m an older and more experienced insister, so we went on down Center Walk to the creek woods, where we turned onto that trail to the north, and eventually crossed the dry creek and continued a short way to the start of the Gully Trail, where I stopped him, and when he stopped willingly (and had quit trying to turn back…crossing the creek seems to turn off the compulsion, or maybe he can’t hear the siren song of the red horse) I kept him there a minute or two, then gave him a cookie, and we started back.

We had only a 10th of an inch in the gauge last week, but it was apparently enough to make the bluebonnets surge so they could put out seed for next year…late in the day as it was, the heady fragrance was still just discernable (it peaks with the heat and sun).  The West Grass south of Center Walk (and in places on it, and north of it) was a broad swathe of blue and white.   It really does remind you of blue-and-white small-check gingham.  Up until sometime in my college years, there was a mill in New Braunfels (I think) that made checked and striped gingham cloth, dotted Swiss, lovely (heavier weight than gingham) tablecloths, etc.  We visited it once; the noise HURT.  100% cotton grown mostly in Texas, both where I grew up and in Central Texas, along the Brazos River drainage.  Anyway, the effect of a field of bluebonnets with their white tips is a deep blue with white spots, so it a breeze it almost sparkles.  Riding through bluebonnets is sheer joy.  The beauty, the fragrance, the view from slightly above, on the horse, lets you see a little farther than usual, where patches of the blue & white show in the distance.

After I’d untacked Rags and given him his reward, I left him in the barn lot.  Caught and haltered Tigger and tried to do a little with him.  Laci told me to spend an hour with him every day, mostly not work, but including some simple stuff.   I thought he might like to go into the north lot (where Rags starts his rides, walking over poles) but he got more and more wound up.  I quit with the pole work after four poles; he was staring, head up, tail up, beginning to enlarge in the mysterious way hot horses do…they can suddenly seem to be half a foot to a foot taller, standing on tippy-toe hooves, and signaling “I can jump out of my skin any moment now.”   So we went back into the south lot.  Was it missing Rags?  But if Rags is loose while I’m working with Tigger he comes up behind Tig and warts him the same way Tigger warts Rags if he’s loose in the same area while I’m leading Rags.   Sniffing at his back end, threatening to nip, etc.)  I got two “walk on/whoa” things working and quit there.  Took the halter off and went over and sat down on a mounting block.  (I was TIRED.)  After awhile, Tig came over to me and sniffed my knees, then my helmet and I chatted with him.  Then he walked off. Then my back started hurting, so I got up, opened the west gate and let them be together.  Finally I went inside, drank some water, and eventually regained the energy to make myself some supper (R- had that huge piece of cake with lots of berries that my friend had sent him.)

I’ll try to spend time with the horses, and get in several more rides this week, God willin’ and the crick don’t rise.  Saturday there’s the memorial service for Willie Siros, known to just about everybody in Texas SF fandom and many people from around the country as well.  If I knew where to get a “Hawaiian” shirt I’d get it and wear it to the memorial, (Willie was known for his Hawaiian shirts) but I don’t, so I’ll go somewhat casual instead.  It’s the wrong season for hibiscus or I’d stick a flower behind my ear.  I need to get some more “outside” chairs (NOT Adirondack style…I used to love them but 77 year old hips and knees insist that it’s like lying in a ditch with your back on one sloping side and your legs on the other…not easy to get out of) so I can sit in the horse lot with less pain.  Or maybe one of those folding cot things where you can prop up your shoulders.  The horse lot is woefully lacking in trees you could hang a hammock between.

It’s almost 10 now; if the contractor comes by at 8am I’ll need to be up, dressed, ready for anything.  So bed is in my immediate future.  Tired and stiff.  And happy, but still tired and stiff.

7 thoughts on “Ride 39: Busy Day, Rode Rags Anyway

  1. Tigger and Rags sound like me after anti-Covid injections! Your bluebonnets sound gorgeous – here in England, our bluebell woods are almost at their peak – a sea of blue, they are so lovely. When I was in Sussex last week, the woods were blue with them, what time they weren’t white with wood anemones (windflowers); definitely “O to be in England now that April’s here”! Spring really is the loveliest season!

    1. Annabel, I’ve seen pictures (still and video) of bluebells in an English woods and they are stunning. Very different effect than bluebonnets but equally lovely. Do they have a fragrance? I’ve seen pictures where the bluebells are mixed with white flowers, too. Bluebonnets look best (in my opinion) when there are patches of brilliant yellow or red or orange edging them or nearby–and look best in full sun. There are two species officially known as bluebonnets–the one that grows on sandy soils in S. Texas, and the one that grows on more clay-like soils in the rest of the state. Flowers are nearly identical. In “wet” years (normal rainfall or more) they grow taller and cover more areas. I can’t yet carry a camera while riding Rags, because he’s just not stable enough in his training to let me drop the reins and expect he’ll stand still while I take the shot with my camera, but next spring…I hope.

      Once when my mother had taken a flight to Corpus Christi (Texas coast, well south of Houston) for medical treatment, a friend of her boss happened to see us at the airport on the way home and offered to fly us in his plane to look at wildflowers on the way. It would also be quicker because he was going straight back to McAllen, not down to Harlingen, with a stop there, and then a flight to McAllen. We were in his single-engine four-seater plane, and flew low, under 5000 feet, mostly across the King Ranch’s huge pastures…grazed at different times, so harboring different mixes of flowers. It was literally patchwork-quilting in flowers: one whole pasture of red, one of yellow, another of orange or blue or pink or purple, with small accents of the others, and some all mixed up. No other planes to worry about back then, either. No paved roads. No houses. Just flowers and cattle here and there. Best wildflower trip ever.

    2. Yes, the bluebells do have a fragrance, but it is very faint, more a sort of “smell of spring”. We are going down for a couple of days next week to Mum-sit (my mother, at 94, is just about capable of looking after herself for 3 days while my sister, her carer, is away, but prefers not to have to, and asked us to come) and I hope will see even more blue!

  2. Someday I hope to be in Texas in bluebonnet season. Here in Arizona most of our wildflowers are yellow, We do have some purple and deep orange where there are California poppies. We had just enough with the one rain to trigger mesquite and palo verde trees so the pollen is making everyone sniffly (apparently that is not a word, but it describes what we are all doing!) Good to read your post this morning, I was starting to be a bit concerned for you.

    1. Sometimes I just get busy…sometimes I can’t think of anything to write…sometimes I write something but get interrupted or hit the wrong key and it all goes *poof* and then I’m in an “Oh, STUFF it!” mood and slink away for hours. Don’t worry unless I make the 6 o’clock news with a lurid headline. Tomorrow, for instance, I’ll be dealing with *both* the contractor who’s going to be repairing the rotted out floor that escaped from the furnace room and got under the carpet in the next room over….AND the city inspector and solar installer rep, who require me to be home when they inspect the new part of the system. (We’re going solar in increments.) Thursday we add a plumbing contractor to the floor guy (who is unlikely to be finished by then.) The bathroom repair isn’t supposed to take that long, but the floor doesn’t have a stated “We should finish in x days” value for X yet.) And then there’s the diminished hay supply in the barn…I bought about a third of a bale today just by letting the greedyguts into a 30×40 lot they hadn’t grazed to the dirt yet.

  3. A patchwork quilt of flowers…what a lovely image. I have a mental image of the Sacramento valley in early spring as seen from an aircraft on the landing path to SMF (Sacramento International). Someday, I am going to pull the image out of my mind and recreate it with fabric. The almonds were blooming, flooded rice fields reflected the cloud-dappled sky, creek-side forests meandered across the fields on their way to the river.

    1. How lovely if you could do that–fabric art is so versatile and beautiful (and not anywhere near my skillsets, alas.) I once did a painting (can’t remember if I did that one summer of HS or later) of pegasii on clouds, with little bits of farmland on the ground between the clouds. I’m guessing HS because it was lost to Hurricane Beulah (stored at ground level and the lot was flooded about a foot deep in that area; my mother had reworked the old garage into a little guest suite. It’s where I learned to put up drywall, tape & float the seams, and lay tile, working with her. I already knew how to paint walls & ceilings. I’m about to get some supplies to do the finish of the wall in the pantry that yesterday’s plumbing work had to cut into. Then a few years later, Beulah flooded it for days, and we had it all to do again. Dirty standing water does a number on drywall and inexpensive floor tiles (real ceramic tiles properly laid might have survived, what they called “asphalt” tiles didn’t. They all curled up at the edges and changed color. Anyway, all my paintings were in a storage closet there, and standing dirty water also does a number on them. Decades before that, when my mother was in college, her college clothes were stored in an interior closet on the second floor of their house when the ’33 hurricane hit (unrecorded by the National Weather Service because it blew out all the Coast Guard devices that measured wind speed, rainfall, etc. The house survived (it was relatively new, well-built brick) but the roof leaked in one spot not noticed until later–that interior closet. All her clothes had been soaked, and were mildewed by the time they got to that particular closet, and as the Depression was well started, there was no money to replace them with “nice” things. Which is how she went to a governor’s inaugural ball in a dress she designed and made out of a sheet. She still had it, carefully folded away, when I was a teenager. She’d have been one heck of a designer of clothes, if that’s what she’d wanted to be: it had a gored skirt, a fishtail skirt, a bodice that looked demure from the front, with a sailor collar, and was backless under the “flap” of the sailor collar behind. White, of course (all sheets were in those days) with navy-blue rick-rack on the collar. Nobody, she told me, suspected it had started life as a sheet, and she didn’t of course tell people that when they complimented it. She also made herself a “flapper” dress if bright red that I could wear (I was taller, but we were the same circumference at that age. I think I remember that Beulah also destroyed both those saved dresses, but I could be wrong. Somewhere there was a Polaroid pic of me in her red flapper dress. The white dress had spotted, the way old cotton does, and she didn’t think it would hold together for a picture.

      Anyway, I love the idea of your doing fabric art rendition of the aerial view of the Sacramento valley.

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