Starting with a typical day.
5:30 a.m. and my world is already light. I hate that. I’d rather rise not only before the sun, but before the light. But somehow, when we don’t finish dinner till after 9, then clean up, wash up (ah… the beloved bath… enjoy it while I still can as another summer without indoor plumbing or running water awaits us), catch up and reading to unwind… somehow this makes waking earlier harder.
In spite of the bath, I wake with sore muscles. A pleasant reminder of how much we got done the day before. A permanent part of early spring. Taking it easy and going slow is out of the question when you’ve waited for months to see the ground. Now is the time to DO. Winter will come again. Though this coming winter promises great surprises. For us as well as you. I’ll explain all that another time.
The pup has learned his place, quiet beside me, ignoring the cats that remain always frisky in the first of morning. I sit on the sofa with his warm furry body on one side, the wood stove softly purring on the other, and the computer on my lap. Less creative writing, more correspondence as tourist season approaches and the mountain and our world prepares to open up.
Chores, feeding the horses, a pleasure right now, as the panic of winter has passed and the horses have this easy calm about them. Soft eyes and ears, they’re happy for breakfast when it comes, but are not tense in anticipation. Now they have time to look me in the eye as if saying a polite, “Thank you,” then lower their heads with a gentle sigh and graciously take what is given to them.
The last of their winter coats are still holding, despite daily brushings and their spring de-worming. Another week, and they too will be bright and shiny as was the description of our greatly anticipated Norman, the new draft horse arriving tomorrow from his family in Texas. Almost a swap, for Texas is where our old draft, Gizmo, was allowed for an early retirement.
Then we jog, on this morning, just Gunnar and me. Yes, jog. Usually all of us. As if we didn’t get enough exercise throughout the day, you ask? Heck, I’m only up to two miles. A long ways to go before any marathons. But not too bad for 10,000 feet elevation. Part training for the pup to stay with me at a heel, and training for us two leggeds, for it began just a month ago inspired by Forrest’s fundraiser (the High Country Hustle). In any case, we started on packed snowmobile tracks, then frozen slush, then mud. Biting snow blowing in our faces as we faced into the morning storms was not unusual. We’re hearty. And you can’t let your life wait on soft sunny days. Get out there, I say! So there we were, in muck boots, if you can picture that, the three of us with our long skinny legs running up the mountain in tall rubber boots.
Now the road is back to dirt. Hard, dry dirt. And I don running shoes. And truly, it feels fabulous!
We return and the boys are up. Sort of. Silently stumbling around, but at least with smiles. I get breakfast going on the old cook stove. Homemade toast fried in the big cast iron skillet, home grown eggs with big and brown shells and glowing orange yolks. Nothing fancy, but hearty and rich. “Eggs and toast again…” I’ve heard them complain. Forrest has yet to have cold cereal for breakfast. Ah, college will bring many surprises for him.
Then the day really begins. There’s a gate to fix. Bob’s out there welding. We bring the horses in for training and grooming, brushing off their winter coats, and polishing up old manners, teaching good new ones. Two yearlings, two three year olds, and a few that just need to shine up the rusty patches. I know the feeling. Working with the horses, sitting in the saddle or on their soft warm backs, feels awkward again at first. For maybe the first two days. Then I’m back to wishing I had nothing better to do and could be there all day (and I swear the horses wish the same).
Nearly fifty by noon, but a good biting spring wind to remind us we’re in the mountains.
But we have lots more to do. Getting the ranch and cabins set for our final season. And construction. Always construction! Starting with the bathroom remodel. The last of the old bathrooms from the original guest cabins… We ripped it out, exterior walls and all, last fall. Figured we’d just start from scratch. Had the big cavernous hole to the cabin blocked off with tarps for the winter, and only now are we able to break up the ground to dig in new pipes – with a jackhammer. Frozen solid soil. Testament to how deep our frost line goes and how late it remains. (Don’t worry, Bob P – we’ll have it done in time for you!)
Anyway, that’s just part of it. Suffice to say I find myself quitting before the sun does, wishing I could hold out longer, but fantasizing about how good that bath and a hot dinner will feel. Except of course, then I have to cook that hot meal. Thus the late dinners in Spring.
So… the rest of my updates will wait for another day. I’ve got work to do. But as Maggie reminds me, there should always be time for keeping up with friends.