Pigs…con’t. (and more)

Well, today has been a day that could probably only happen at Down Home Ranch.

It began with an early morning swim in the pool, which I try to get in as often as I can.  Granddaughter Rachel had permission from Ranch Camp, being a serious competitive swimmer, to swim from 5:30 to 6:30 in the morning, her normal routine, although our pool at 52′ is considerably shorter than the pools she normally swims in at UT and Circle C.

I got there a little after six, and Rachel was churning the water like an outboard.  I got in the water and did my usual granny breast-crawl-back stroke back and forth while Rachel whizzed past coming and going.

I got home about 6:45, made myself a smoothie and remembered just as the phone rang that I had an early morning appointment with a friend and neighbor, who is instructing me in the art of cart driving, with Sally, our Austrian Haflinger.  I threw on some jeans and a shirt, jammed on a straw hat, and headed for the barn.

Debbie awaited me, having already extracted Sally from her stall, and we commenced to walk the half-mile to the spur to get the cart and harness and hitch the old gal up.

Though Sally has been living the easy life for the past six months or so, she stood like a statue waiting for the harness.  Good Sally!

Travis and I driving Sally last summer

Debbie instructed me in the intricacies of about 5,000 pieces of leather, rings, bits, blinders, cruppers, and other bits of leather and metal that have not yet been engraved in my memory banks and we finally got Sally hitched up.  Annette showed up and helped us lift the cart down off the concrete apron of the Spur barn, and off we went.

Sally is a most forgiving equine.  I know that “Gee” is right and “Haw” is left, but we always say those words “Gee and Haw,” which to my literal mind reads left to right, exactly opposite.  Despite the botched commands, Sally responded beautifully to whatever I was doing with the reins, rather than heeding what I said.

We're getting ready for the Swim Fest, so the rest of the morning was given over to writing copy for the web site and the donation pages, along with dealing with a few crises that popped up here and there.  I planned a trip into Elgin to HEB to pick up a few things for Rachel, and thought maybe I'd get out by 2:00 at the latest.

Alas, 'twas not to be.  Jerry kept lobbing things back at me via email, and I was still hard at it when he left to meet coaches Matt, Shane, and Bruce at Shadow Glen to begin getting in golf rounds in preparation for Fall Games in Special Olympics with Mark, Michael, and Andrew.  About 3:00 it occurred to me that I hadn't yet got Sally's cart into the barn and out of the sun, so I called Kristin for help.

Other duties as assigned

I told Kristin this came under the heading “other duties as assigned,” as she began to haul the cart toward the barn.  I knew there was no way I could lift my half of the cart into the barn, so hailed Dustin, who happened to be passing by in a truck.  Piece of cake for Dustin.

OK, time to get to HEB.  I left the barn (where I office, and it looks like it) and saw Brian and Pat, with the big red stock trailer, over by the pig pen.  Jerry's been talking for several days about the fact that the pigs are about to meet their fate.  They were to “fast” for 24 hours before, a fate I'm sure is worse than…well, their fate.  We'd had a freezer failure a few weeks back, and had about $300 worth of thawed and refrozen pastry and vegetables we'd been stuffing them with.  Plus, they've had leftovers from the best restaurants in Austin.  It could be worse.

Jerry feeds tortillas, a favorite, to the pigs last spring

Anyway, I digress.  I couldn't see what was going on over by the pig pen, but I could hear, and I've heard pigs meeting their fate before and did NOT want to hear it again.

“Coward! Hypocrit!” I excoriated myself as I hurried to my car and turned the sound up as loud as I could.  Unfortunately, Mozart's Requiem  was playing.  I hastily changed the station to KMFA and drove away.

My car was caked in caliche to the point I could hardly see out of the back window, so I got some gas and headed into the car wash.  At least I could see when I got out, so I made my purchases, which included about $40 worth of wild bird and squirrel food (Jerry asks why I feed those “furry-tailed rats”) in addition to items for Rachel's health and well-being.  I also got the “small dp's” on my list, after I pondered what that could mean for about half an hour in the parking lot.  Oh yeah!  Small cans of Dr. Pepper for Paige, Rachel's friend who is also volunteering at Ranch Camp this week.

As I was carrying the goods into Benedict House, I saw an assortment of counselors and CITs heading for the Pavilion for Krazyoke Night.  They had orange wigs and huge neon-green hats.  They looked great.  Putting the groceries away I watched the evening news, which was depressing no matter where you are on the political spectrum.

Jerry called to say he'd be later than his 7:00 PM ETA, so I finished up the wash, made the bed, and did a little ironing before putting supper on.  When he staggered in from his afternoon on the golf course in 105 degree heat, I told him about the pigs.

“I told you again and again,” he said, “the pigs are going to Smithville tomorrow.  They'll come back in shrink-wrap.  Pat and Brian were just getting them into the trailer to take them over there.”

“Oh,” I said. 

Later I went out to water the garden and put water and food out for the wild critters.  I've seen a squirrel lounging around the bird bath, looking for all the world like a sorority sister sunning herself by the pool, and yesterday morning I spied the raccoon who's been knocking down the bird feeder.  I poured out a pile of sunflower seeds and bird and dried corn for him, and left him a bowl of water to save him the trouble of climbing the tree and knocking down the bird house.

Jer came home, and we ate.  I'll work a little bit on the scrapbook of Alaska, and go to bed early.

Dangnation, I'm tired!