Farm Wife

This is Cindy working on her vegetable gathering prior to getting supper on the table.

This is Cindy working on her vegetable gathering prior to getting supper on the table.

I have always had a career. I have worked since I was 16, before that if you count the lawn mowing I did to pay board on my first horse.

I have never been nor ever wanted to be the traditional stay at home mom.  Unless perhaps as Lauren once told her teacher when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, I could be a stay at home mom with no kids and no husband. Sorry, just have always rather been outside doing stuff than inside being domestic.  I love my kids and grandkids but let’s go outside!

Adding to this particular little nuance of mine, is the fact that I have not had any children at home but Lauren for the last ten years and it has been almost 18 years since I have had a man around the house.

I picked up my new man friend at the airport on Friday the 20th and he stayed on until the next Saturday night. Wow! I know! I kept expecting to find him packed and gone. Or to catch sight of a taxi pulling out of the driveway, but he stayed. Huh… It wasn’t like he didn’t know this time what to expect.

But I have to say it was a different time for me. Chris, as we are calling him to protect his innocence as long as possible, was fully engaged with me on all the horse chores. From waking up to Maui, the poodle alarm clock, at 4:30 am to falling asleep before 8:00 pm, Chris lived the farm life.

This time he got to clean stalls! He got his first taste (bad analogy) of dumping manure all the way down at the bottom pasture. He installed new feeders and fixed gates. He got beautiful Houston weather and freezing, windy downpours of rain. He walked, he lifted, and walked some more. It was impressive. Like I said, I kept expecting him to leave. He told me he was waiting for me to finish his wash. I think he was kidding.
I have to say that I think Chris took to the farm well. Which is to say that he managed way better out of his normal environment than I did out of mine.

Lauren cooks dinner a couple of times a week (if I am lucky and she is home). I manage a few meals I fix for us or for myself-things she doesn’t like (like Salmon). But in no stretch of the imagination do either of us compile whole meals like my mom used make. You might remember those and even serve them, they come with a main course, a vegetable, a starch and perhaps a dessert. But we don’t. There is never enough time.
Sheets are changed Friday night. Laundry is done on Saturday and whatever cleaning gets done in the house is on an “as-needed” basis, like “the dogs ran in with their muddy feet in and you can no longer see the pattern of the tile” basis.

This last week, with Chris so readily agreeing to do anything and everything that was needed outside, I felt compelled to step up my inside services, you know, like cooking and cleaning.  I can honestly say that I cooked more meals and prepared more food in the last week than in the last several years.  I made my famous enchiladas-except Lauren got FIRE hot sauce and I had to tone that down a little.  I made hamburgers with actual vegetables to go with them.  I made my mom’s ham waffles. I managed a fairly good rendition of beef stroganoff.  I did my share at Thanksgiving, too.  Although, thankfully, Ally and Luke did the majority of the cooking even though it was at my house.  Jordyn helped me with pumpkin pies and our special cranberry salad.

Fortunately, I re-introduced Chris to the world of fast food so lunches were not an issue.  I did fry up a couple of quasi-omelets along with the waffles for breakfast.  I also felt I should keep the bathroom clean, the floors swept (before we lost sight of the tile), and counters disinfected (at least to the point one can manage that with giant Levi the cat wallowing around).

Levi lying on the Thanksgiving table.

Levi lying on the Thanksgiving table.

I managed to keep up both his laundry and mine although it has been a long-time since I saw a pair of men’s underwear.  Scandalous!

Seriously-how do people do this?  I can clean stalls, feed at dead of dawn, handle wild horses, snakes and lots of blood but throw me in the kitchen and laundry room for a week and I am undone!  I would have never made it as a farm wife!

I hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I am grateful for all of you and for so many things!  Thanks for riding along!


I am sure you are all awaiting this post.  Clearly, my weekend is utmost on the minds of many.  I will give you the lowdown (okay, so some of it!).

My friend and I had a good reunion. For the sake of privacy let’s call him by a made-up name which will be Chris for now.  We knew each other well, way back when, but had not seen one another in many years.  I guess I expected us to be the same lively, vibrant, young couple we had been once before, as it is human nature to remember ourselves the way we were.

But boy, we have both covered a lot of ground in the years that have flown by.  I was a good athlete, swimming, skiing and riding.  He was a terrific athlete as well,playing basketball and football.  But the years have made us a little softer, a little older and thankfully, a little kinder.

When we got home from airport after the long drive where we tried to catch up some and tentatively touch one another’s hand or graze a touch across a leg, it was late.  We got the bounding herd of dogs out first.  I had warned Chris about them, but seeing two large poodles, a Doberman, a spaniel and two dachshunds race towards you is unnerving for anyone.

We got them outside and headed to the barn.  The horses usually go back out for the night around 7:30 so we were way later than usual.  Everyone was neighing, pounding their hooves on their gates and pacing with anticipation.

For someone with literally no knowledge of horses to just be handed a horse by his halter and told hang on, is a little dangerous.  Fortunately the horses knew their routine and quietly followed Chris and I, one by one, out to their pastures.  We got hay for the horses staying in for the night and got inside to eat the soup that had been left by our boarder.  I am very grateful for our food as there is no way I could have put together any dinner at that point.

So, not to get into details as this is a family blog, there were some issues with dogs who have slept in certain spots on my bed since they were mere pups.  Suddenly, those spots were unavailable.  It lead to some crazy, anxious pups as they struggled to get to their favorite sleeping spots only to find someone else in residence.  From Chris’ perspective, I am sure it was a little daunting to have to fight a Doberman over a place to sleep.  It was long past midnight before everyone settled in to sleep.

Maui, the soon to be one year old Poodle, has a clock in his head and was exactly on time as he jumped on the bed at 4:30 am to tell us it was time to feed the horses.  It was pretty cool for Houston but clear and calm as we trudged out to feed the horses on a few hours sleep.  It is easy to see if you have a keeper if someone will leave a warm house for a cold barn, in the dark, to feed a bunch of horses. Mickey got a little aggressive and tried to rip out Chris’ arm but other than that it went well.  This second time to the barn, he was even reliably getting the names right of most of my horses (pretty impressive feat).

Saturday was a beautiful day.  We ended up with several visitors which was fine.  Chris and I worked on catching up on weekend chores like emptying and refilling the big water troughs in the pastures.  I always have said that God has a sense of humor and it was apparent in all the things that were happening.  The first water trough had not one, but two dead squirrels in it.

I was using broken branches as chop stix to carry the dead squirrels away. Note I am carrying the squirrels and my friend is taking photos.

I was using broken branches as chop stix to carry the dead squirrels away. Note I am carrying the squirrels and my friend is taking photos.

aa squ

Nothing like a rapid indoctrination into life on the farm-life with dead animals.  I illustrated how to make up the feed for 15 horses and all the types of hay they eat and supplements they take.  To an outsider it is pretty overwhelming.  Personally, I was glad to turn over the carrying, opening and pouring of the 50 pound bags of feed to someone stronger than me.  I also liked it on Sunday when Chris remembered which feeds went in which containers.  I was giving him extra points for quick learning.

Before we knew it the sun was sinking in the west and it was time to once again feed horses and get them in.  The art of blanketing was introduced which also went a lot better for me with having someone to hold the horse while I blanketed it.

Saturday night we had a quiet dinner and finally had some time to talk about where life had taken us over the years.  Except for college, he has remained in the same city we meet in while I have been all over the country.  We recognized a couple of spots in our lives where if one of us had just done things a little differently we would not have missed out on all these years together.  Still, no regrets as we both have amazing children (now adults) and neither of us would change that for anything.

Sunday morning had us going from 4 am on.  It was lesson day at the farm.  I was hosting a pot-luck for the riders and their families.  It would also give everyone a chance to meet Chris.

Jo and Ken working on their puzzle book with Chris.

Jo and Ken working on their puzzle book with Chris.

The first to arrive was Ally with Jordyn and Kendyll.  From the first moment, Chris engaged them with book activity and then came up with a plan for all of us to go pick up rocks on the drive way  Then we used the rocks to fill up some pretty big holes that had developed with the rain.  Ingenuity.

As Jordyn got ready for her lesson, Kendyll joined Chris and I in the feed room.  Kendyll was already calling out to “Grandpa Chris” and sternly lecturing him on how to manage the feed process.  They were pretty cute.

Chris and Kendyll pouring the feed into the containers. What pals!

Chris and Kendyll pouring the feed into the containers. What pals!

It all got pretty complicated with trailers coming in full of ponies, riders, siblings and parents that Chris had not met yet, coupled with some wild riding in ring.  I think my friend got a very rich indoctrination of life a boarding and training barn.  Don’t forget he had to keep throwing the tennis ball for the poodle and holding Sammi the Dachshund.

All in all, it was over too soon and we were on the road back to the airport.  Kendyll was at home telling her other grandparents about her new grandparent.  I figure that someone willing to get up at 4 am, learn all the horse’s names, sleep with the dogs, play with the grandkids and throw tennis balls for hours to the poodle is worth another visit.

So, where will I be tonight?  Hanging out at the airport again.  Huh, might just get to be a steady thing.  We will see!


Jo getting her last practice in on Sunday.

Jo getting her last practice in on Sunday.

Jordyn will make her debut in the horse show ring on Mickey tomorrow doing walk/trot just as Lauren did 12 years ago.  I am trying to get Jo to understand there will be a lot of riders and there may not be any ribbons this first time out.  Hopefully, they have a great day!