20 March 2006

Horses, Honey, and the Hammer

As the Hammer and I have seen fresh horse tracks on the dyke near Byfield each time we have scuffed our feet down its well worn length we knew it was only a matter of time before we saw the horses and their riders up close. I saw the horses approach from quite a distance so I put my dog, happy with the sun and the cold wind, on her leash. I had my camera ready as the horses got closer. One of the teenage girls on the horses said, "No flash please." I told her, "I know enough about horses not to do that." The girls were proud and confident of their riding skills.

This was the Hammer's first close encounter with the animals whose shit she was chewing on ravenously just minutes before. As the horses drew away she broke away from me to have a closer look. The girls had to ride their horses back to me because the Hammer would not come back to me when I called. She woofed at the horses respectfully and the horses could not have given less of a shit about her so it was a happy encounter.

When my previous dog, the Strangler, first encountered a horse he ran up behind it and stuck his face right up its butt. I had to go behind the horse to pull his face out. I hate getting close up behind horses but it had to be done. It was like uncorking a bottle of wine.

It sure does smell like shit around Byfield. The farmers have been liberally applying the honey to their fields to ready the ground for the hay, corn and berries they are famous for producing.

From Byfield we continued to the Cherrydale River. A few days ago the Hammer was running around in a creek and up to her belly in mud and skunk cabbage stink. Today she was afraid to walk through six inches of trickle on the edges of the Cherrydale River's sometimes wide path. Looks like she is in need of some bravery lessons on the trail. I hope next weekend's weather is half as good as the last couple of day's.

When I got home I mixed up some apple muffins for my work week. A week of work ain't nothing after a weekend as fine as this one. The cooking muffins washed the shit smell from my nostrils. Sonja and I may have bought a small farm near Byfield years ago but she could not stand the idea of all her clothes smelling like cow shit.

The muffins taste great with a cold Patagonia.

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