No day off for me today

When I got into work yesterday and looked at the prep cooler, I could see something wasn’t right.  When I went into the office to say good morning to the manager he asked if I could work Thursday.  The father of the other woman that does prep died on Tuesday so she had to leave early.  She’ll be burying him in Florida so she won’t be back to work until the end of next week which means I’ll be racking in a lot of hours between now and then.  That isn’t great news, but was I ever surprised when all of a sudden the dishwasher who has been ugly to me for the past month or so is all of a sudden my best friend and willing to help me out.  He has the worst split personality of anyone I think I’ve ever met.  I’m not going to question it because I need the help.

Chores yesterday went awful.  It started when I went down to feed the horses.  I found Sudi but not Ace (more on Ace later) and immediately I thought, great, he’s down in the pasture dead somewhere.  I walked part of the way down into the pasture and called Gel to come with me because the two male Jerseys where coming towards me and I use Gel to keep them off me.  That was a mistake because Gel was holding the gate I had left open.  Some day I’ll learn to trust that dog.  The cows walked past me and on out the open gate up towards the goats.  I didn’t see Ace so I walked back to get the ATV.  The cows gave Gel a hard time coming back (it was cooler and they were fresh), but eventually he got them back down and I got the ATV and headed down into the pasture.  Ace was down at the bottom of the pasture and when I got closer to him, I saw that Sudi had tore a hunk of hide off his back.  Great.  I first tried to herd him back up with the ATV, but Ace would have none of that.  Luckily I had a rope in the ATV basket so I put it around his neck and lead him most of the way up on the ATV.  I put him in Gwen’s paddock, gave him his grain and headed back up to do the goats.

Milking went fine except that they gave so much milk my tote was all but overflowing and heavy as heck.  Pouring milk out of a 12 quart tote is hard, but I managed to do it without spilling much milk.

Got ready for work and packed up two coolers with three gallons of milk in glass jars and headed out.  I was heading down the road that we live on and I saw a grey car coming down a neighbor’s driveway but kept going because the car should have stopped.  It didn’t so I had to slam my brakes on and both coolers slid up to the front of the truck.  I stopped and checked the coolers and found one of the jars broke.  Lovely.

Getting to work and seeing the bare prep cooler was just the icing on the cake.  Luckily the “good” dishwasher was working.  Hopefully the “bad” dishwasher won’t be working today.

Ace is a half Arab barrel and pole horse that we stumbled upon Monday night.  We bought him for virtually nothing; it was almost embarrassing what we paid for him but like so many people in this area, she had too many horses in too small an area.  Horses are so cheap these days and if you look around, you can find good deals on great horses like we did with Rosie.  Here in North Carolina, it seems Arabs are not very well thought of, but given how low the price was on him, the woman that was selling him had three people lined up to look at him the following day and while we were there looking at him, her cell phone was ringing off the hook with people calling about him.  We got to him right at the right time.  Ace needs some groceries and TLC, but it seems he’s a really nice horse with a good mind.  Some people would call him in running shape, but we feel he needs another 100 pounds which he should put on being on pasture.  He had no pasture where he came from.  The thought of occasionally going to barrel races Saturday evenings is still on both of our minds so we decided to give Ace a try.  That he’s a gelding and is in running shape makes a huge difference.  Rosie would have taken A LOT of time to get into running shape and she had that mare attitude which I really, really don’t like.  If it doesn’t work out, we won’t loose money on him and eventually he’ll be a good pasture-mate for Sudi.  I’m going to keep them separated until Ace gets some weight on and settles in.  Sudi is a very dominant horse and it appears Ace is very passive; Sudi tore some hide off Rosie when she first came, but Rosie had plenty of hide to tear off, Ace does not.

The kind of cool thing about Ace is that he has what’s called a Prophet’s Thumb Mark on his neck.  According to legend, a Prophet’s Thumb Mark is a birthmark in the form of an indentation, usually found on the side of a horse’s neck. It is believed that a horse with such a mark will be outstanding, as it is allegedly a descendant of one of the five brood mares that the Prophet Mohammed particularly treasured and marked with his own thumbprint.

A widespread belief tells of how any horse that has a groove in its neck is to be treasured and treated with great respect as it believed to come from a the line of horses that belonged to the Prophet Mahomet. If you can place your thumb gently into the groove on the neck, which is known as the ‘Prophet’s Thumb Print’, then the horse is allegedly connected to one of the five brood mares that Mahomet owned, and therefore sacred.

The five mares of Mohammed

by Ilil Arbel, Ph.D.

The hot desert wind blew against the tent, driving the dust inside. Fatima walked softly in, carrying an earthenware jug full of cold water, and handed it to the Prophet. “Please, stop tormenting yourself, Mohammed,” she said, “drink some water!”

“I will drink when the test is over, and the horses can drink, too. I cannot drink knowing they are thirsty,” said the Prophet to his daughter.

“I do not understand this test, nor do I like it,” said Fatima angrily. “Depriving the horses from drinking for three full days is cruel. I cannot believe you would do it, a man who loves animals better than himself!”

“I must. Allah commanded me — would you have me disobey God? The spread of Islam depends greatly on the loyalty and strength of our horses. The best of these horses, said Allah, will be honored till the end of time… But it is the evening of the third day now, so let us go to the horses and conduct the test.”

He took a horn that hung at the tent’s entrance, and walked toward an enclosure where about a hundred horses were confined, a little distance from the water hole of the oasis. The horses looked reproachfully at their beloved master as he quickly opened the gate. Tormented by thirst, the horses galloped to the water hole, but before they could reach it, Mohammed raised the horn to his lips and sounded the call for war.

The horses ignored it. They were so thirsty that perhaps they couldn’t even hear it, and went on galloping toward the water. But not all of them. Five mares stopped. Without hesitation, they turned around and returned to Mohammed, ready to do whatever was required of them.

The Prophet stroked their silky manes, tears in his eyes. He led them to the water and envisioned the glorious future as they drank. He knew that these mares would foal the finest of Arab horses, the only horses of pure blood, the horses that would help bring Islam to every corner of the Earth.

Ace’s father is an Arab and he’s 32 years old and still alive.  He could very well be from old desert lines.  His mother was a Quarter Horse from a very desirable barrel horse line (Streakin Six).  Ace was an accidental breeding … “accidental breedings” seem to result in some really nice animals for us.  Gel is a perfect example.

We treat the horse(s) as part of the farm.  The money that we bring in from selling farm products gets rolled back into the farm.  Like we did Rosie, we consider Ace an investment.  If he doesn’t work out, we’ll re-sell him and put the money back into the farm.  It would be nice if he did work out because Wally and I really could use an outlet for some R & R.  I don’t care so much for the socialization aspect of going to barrel races, but Wally likes it.  Wally doesn’t care to ride barrel horses, but I like it.  It seems like a perfect compromise.  We made some money on re-selling Rosie and she’s in a fantastic home with a future 14 year old rodeo queen.  Rosie needed the hide rode off her, something I didn’t have time to do.

Sudi: I don’t know what I’m going to do about Sudi.  The plain truth is that I’m afraid to ride him.  It’s a shame that he’s turning into a pasture puff.  While I love him, I wish I could find a good endurance home for him because he’s too nice a horse to sit around.

I have to be in work tomorrow at 8:00 which means that I’ll have to get up at 4:00 to get all of my chores done.  That means I won’t have time to write in the morning.  Agh.

Until later …