Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In the Good Old Summertime

I’m sorry to say this but I have felt for a long time that summertime has been overrated. This has not always been true; not when I was growing up or even in high school or college. Summer was busy, hot, and filled with activities.

I think it became overwhelming after my kids were born. I must have tried to continue to operate under the assumption (yes, I know what assumptions mean) that things would stay about the same. But I was wrong. The ‘things to do’ list only got longer. But tennis, swimming, picnics, reading, a trip or two when I was growing up were just about right until two very active children appeared on the scene.

Then we added swimming lessons, camps, car-pooling, T-ball, baseball, relatives, in-laws, houseguests, long trips with kids in the car and, well, you know what I mean. Don’t get me wrong (too wrong) those were memorable times, glorious times actually but that was the problem…not enough time to lie back in the hammock and take a nap. Maybe that’s the way it used to be a long time ago. A very long time ago.

I have to admit I added to those summer activities by buying a horse or two, so along came 4-H, parades, horse shows, gymkhanas, plus the soccer camps and trips to the mountains, etc.etc.. I usually couldn’t wait for school to start. Not because I didn’t like having my kids around. They were great kids but just so I could catch my breath.

I think it is even harder these days. There are even more choices for kids and parents. But now that I am retired the pace has indeed slowed down, although never enough for me (just ask my family). What have I done this summer? It doesn’t feel like much. So I decided to write a few things down. I had to look at my calendar. Hey, maybe that’s it! I am just having a hard time remembering. That’s it! Phew, I feel so much better.

Several T-ball games.
A family birthday party.
A big birthday party.
A trip to Denver for a Rockies game with family,
A dance recital,
A class in magazine writing..
A class in how to get organized,
Another birthday celebration.
My first query submission sent out.
Went to Boulder for a book signing.
Entered three poems in a poetry contest,
Got my computer fixed.
Entered photographs in a calendar photo contest.
Volunteered at FCCR every week.
Became an Advisory Council member for NCW.
Became a member of the FCCR planning team.
Took Jake the Shelter Cat to the library, a nursing home and a bookstore’.
Went to a collegiate baseball game.
Planted catnip, lettuce and beans.
Wrote posts for two blogs every other week .
Contributed submissions and critiqued work of other 5 members of my critique group five or six times.

Well. OK I feel better now. The reality is, summer never slows down even if I am moving slower. It’s just me. Or it must be the heat. I guess I really do love summer time. Or maybe it’s the retirement I like. :-) Slow or busy, enjoy the rest of it and I will too.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Becoming Vegetarian

     I've gotten so I sit in the rocking chair (we got after our first grandchild was born) in my room to do my 15 minute writing. (Writing Down the Bones) In the summer, all I see outside my windows is green, pines hugging the house, apple trees beginning to fill up with ripening fruit. The new ones; pear, new plum, cherry are beginning to fill, too. Later on in the summer it will look as if the branches could break they are so heavy with fruit. But it has never happened.

     I took a little longer with the horses this morning. I needed to fill all four water tanks.  I used the hoses. In the winter I need to carry water to the ones in the barn, but the horses don't drink as much. I usually give Tucker, the Morgan, his grain first. He greets me and is ready for his breakfast but is very respectful. He turns his head or steps back to give me room to put his grain in the feeder.

Then I get Bailey's grain ready. We are trying to see that he gets some bute 'aspirin' for a swollen and arthritic knee. He is lame on that leg and as a result trips all the time and when he goes down to roll it takes a long time for him to get up. He is our kid's horse, a retired roping horse. But I worry about him. So he gets his grain but I have to halter him and take him to the arena to eat so that his companion, Sport, doesn't eat up his grain. I leave him there and don't give him his hay yet so that there is a chance he will be hungry enough that he will eat the grain, even if there is icky stuff on it. But he eats around the medicine and the molasses, then turns over his feeding pan.

Then I gather hay for the other two who are in the barn. Bolaro, gets fed next. He is new. A beautiful mustang that was captured and sold at auction by the BLM. He is the sweetest, friendlist horse I have come across. Nickers at me coming and going.Then last I take Bailey his hay and grain and hay for Sport. Sport is a quarter horse, a barrell racing horse.  He is the one who got beat up by the other horses when he first came in and also suffered from Pigeon Fever. But now he is shiny and there are no visible scars. He, too is sweet except at dinner time because he lays his ears back and gnashes his teeth..to chase Bailey away.

These horses are well cared for and happy. I can't fathom putting them through the ordeal that insensitive horse owners resort to when they are no longer useful. Horses are loaded into two layered trucks with no concern for their safety, fear or pain, for the trip to  horse slaughter facilities in Canada and Mexico.

Next door, I hear chickens clucking, goat kids baaing and a couple of turkeys and ducks. I think of the song from Oklahoma: "Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry". All of these animals provide something for humans. Yet there is a hidden shame in America today. The poor treatment of animals used for our food is undeniable, And yet a majority of people feel strongly that they need to live lives as close to what is natural as is is possible and when they are taken to slaughter  they should be  treated humanely.

I recently read  Wayne Pacella's book, The Bond; Our Kinship with Animals and our Call to Defend Them and learned about the plight of farm animals as well as, puppy mills, baby seal slaughter, canned hunts, and much more. It is everywhere. One of the things I came out with, beside the determination to use my skills as a writer to take my own small steps and to encourage others toward an attitude of kinship, was to  to move toward becoming a vegetarian and as I move in that direction to at least to be sure the meat, eggs, or milk I buy comes from animals that are humanely treated in all stages of their lives. If they are to make us healthy or keep us happy then we need to make sure they are too.