I know that you all have been curious to hear about the success of the burn box and have been wanting to see pictures. Alas, I have been a bit under the weather, which has hampered me a bit. Okay, enough with the lame excuses.
Since I am not telling you about how our mobile home burned down, or the pasture burned up, it is safe to say that the burn box was a success. In fact, it was quite successful. The piece of tin that is propped up for an opening also functioned as a flu, feeding a steady supply of oxygen into the fire. This fire got hot. Because the wood and brush that we fed into it was necessarily small, it burned very quickly. The bottom line is that we had a well-contained, fast-burning burn pile that answers safety and legal concerns. We had to have someone man that fire consistently, which turned out to be Anna. She was amused by this considering the fact that she was the one who almost burned the ranch down back in October. As a further safety precaution, we periodically wet down the outside borders of the box. Of course, it was also fun to just spray the tin with water and watch it steam. Good Stuff!!
We also managed to take a couple of loads of tin and old farm implements off. This is really satisfying because it raises some cash and also cleans the place up. We made a lot of progress during the visit. My hat's off to a great crew. Not to mention that we also had some great visits and enjoyed playing games (and eating queso).
Everything rocked along as usual until Tuesday. I did not get a job that day, so I decided to ride Sarge. I had ridden him on Friday morning and he did really well. He gave a couple of hops once or twice, but for the most part did exactly what I asked of him and also showed me that he can turn quick. He's got a good lope and a smooth trot. Tuesday was different. I don't know if it was that the wind was blowing hard or his back was maybe sore, or if he just plain didn't want to me to ride, but I couldn't get on him. Whenever I put weight on the saddle as if to get up he balked. I put my foot in the stirrup once and stepped up and he jumped away and got away from me, bolting at a dead run. Anna was working over by the horse barn, so I hollered out to her that I was okay. It can be a little upsetting to see the horse your husband is supposed to be riding gallop by with no rider and a crazed look in his eye.
Not to be deterred, I figured that I would at least keep messing with him on the ground to help him calm him down. I caught him, led him around a bit, and started over. Finally, I stepped up high in the stirrup, thinking that if it goes well, I'll just swing in to the saddle. This kind of noncommittal attitude is not the way to ride a horse. Once on, I can ride him if he starts to buck. It's that moment before getting seated that's touch and go. I was already pretty tense and he probably keyed in on that as well. Sure enough, he shied...hard. I slipped out of the stirrup and landed hard on my right foot, twisting my knee pretty badly. I heard and felt a little 'pop'. I hobbled clear a couple of steps and sank to the ground as Sarge took off toward the barn again. "I'm okay!" I yelled to Anna, calling myself a liar at the same time. I put some weight on my leg and it held, so I hobbled over to Anna and she saw that 'okay' may not be the exact right word.
After that, I was done with riding for the day. I managed to catch him easily enough and get him unsaddled, iced my knee over lunch and then we did our other work. Progressively, my knee has greatly improved. It is still stiff and sore, but I can move around without a perceptible limp. I am very grateful for God's protection and preservation throughout the whole incident. I intend to do a little research on some tricks I can use to help him. I shy away from the 'horse whispering' kind of stuff, but I'm willing to try in this case. My commanding sergeant in my reenacting unit has some ideas that I will try. If that doesn't work, we'll just do it the old fashioned way and snub him up to another horse.
Not much else happening. We have spent some time mowing. Anna has been doing the short and tedious work on the Kubota while I hit the bigger fields with the John Deere. We are still needing the house to sell pretty badly, so if you think about keep that in your prayers. However, we are continuing to learn the difference between taking appropriate action and worrying. It is so easy to not take any action and say, "I'm casting cares on God", but that is not right. It's much easier still to scramble around taking a bunch of action and worrying about things out of our control when God really is taking care of things for us. A very fine line indeed. We struggle with it, but the lesson is worth it. Anna supposed that by the time we do sell the house, we will be so at peace that it will be anticlimactic.
Speaking of Anna, I was giving her a hard time the other day for the way she talks to the horses. Growing up, I learned the traditional approach to speaking to a horse, which is to use low, reassuring tones. However, Anna grew up around dogs and cats. People speak to dogs and cats differently. I've never heard her actually say "cootchie, cootchie, coo", but she doesn't talk like John Wayne either. It tickles me to hear her call Sarge after taking laps around the barn without me as if she would call a dog. "Here, Sarge!" I pointed this out to her. The result is even more amusing. "Heeere, Saarge," she says slowly and in a false and deep bass. It's as if she recorded her voice and played it back at half speed.