"Courage is the resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a complement to say it is brave, it is merely a loose misapplication of the word. Consider the flea!--incomparable the bravest of all the creatures of God, if ignorance of fear were courage. Whether you are asleep or awake he will attack you, caring nothing for the fact that in bulk and strength you are to him as area the massed armies of the earth to a suckling child; he lives both day and night and all days and nights in the very lap of peril and the immediate presence of death, and yet is no more afraid than is the man who walks the streets of a city that was threatened by an earthquake ten centuries before. When we speak of Clive, Nelson and Putnam as men who 'didn't know what fear was,' we ought always to add the flea--and put him at the head of the procession." --Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar
The other night was an evening that will go down as one of the funnest redneck comedies of errors ever (query: was that good grammar?). I knew as soon as I arrived at the horse lot with Lydia, Jemma, K.C., and Carley that things were going to be interesting. Nelson's Beagles were everywhere "hunting" (a hunting Beagle sounds like it is being tortured) and the horses were all at the gate watching something in the driveway... The something was a stuck pickup truck. Very stuck in lots of mud, blocking the road. Nelson's, to be exact.
As darkness fell, we all started digging; some of the kids started putting handfuls of straw under the wheels while others looked for boards. Then someone realized that the chassis was bottomed out, which explained why we weren't making any progress . We got under the truck and started digging out the compacted mud, making jokes about digging out wagons on the Oregon Trail. While we were giving ourselves mud-makeovers under the truck, some of the kids rummaged around in the tack shed looking for ropes to attach to Steve's Durango to try to extract the truck that way. After pulling and failing with Steve's Durango, we decided to wait for a tougher truck to do the job.
We then started moving round bales into pasture number one, which consists of rolling them onto tarps, wrapping them up and strapping them up with bungee cords, then rolling them to the far reaches of the universe. This was a very muddy job, which sometimes included laying down additional tarps like Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth. When we finished this, we headed back to the driveway to find John, Steve's younger brother, starting to work on getting the big truck unstuck. John has a very dandy and sophisticated (Lydia's words) little truck. He hooked up chains to the tow bar (we had been using wimpy little ropes which had very predictably snapped), gave one good haul and it was out.
We all let a a cheer and said things about it looking so easy. Then to make things more convenient to roll the last bale, Steve's other brother moved Steve's Durango out of the way and... locked the keys in the car. All of us learned the proper way to unscrew the antenna off the hood and use it to jimmy the power locks to open the door. Now that Lydia knows how to do this she has plans for stealing John's amazing and spiffy little truck next time she gets the opportunity.
So there. We had fun. How do people with boring lives stand it?
[This is an excerpt from Steve's blog (msindianhorses.blogspot.com) because I'm too sleepy to write more at the moment... Maybe Lydia will write more in the morning?]
Hi! This is Emily and Lydia is in the chair next to me... We have just gotten back from one of the coldest rides in the history of Mill Swamp according to Lydia, according to me one of the funnest. But I have a hard time rating the rides out here because I always have such a wonderful time.
At the moment we are "snowed in", Virginia-style, with big plans for avoiding cabin-fever. We sort of knew the storm was coming, so we brought our snow gear and stayed at Steve's house last night so that we could be snowed in here rather than in Portsmouth.
This morning after breakfast, Lydia showed up ready to go feed-up horses in some very uncool looking ski pants (Lydia says that "uncool" isn't a good word and to say "spiffy" instead) that Steve said made her look skinny. I thought this was hilarious because Lydia is skinny as a rail anyway. They saved her from the troubles of wet pants all day, she says. She wants to thank her mother for convincing her to bring them because she was hot when Steve and I were frozen.
After admiring Lydia's choice in fashion, we drove out to the horse lot in Steve's little SUV to feed and water everybody. I love how horses look in snow, especially when they run. It's like no other sight on earth. We got to wondering how deep the snow was in the woods, so we each grapped a horse and headed out to see. It was about 6 inches deep, for the record. The horses were very sure-footed and seemed to remember every inch of the trail even though they couldn't see it.
When we got back, we were starving. Beth very wonderfully had hot soup ready for us. Hot food is amazing after getting wet and frozen.
Ater lunch, Steve took a nap on the couch for three hours while we watched a movie--this enabled him (at his advanced age and all) to be able to go on a snowy night ride with us after a delicous dinner. We rode on and on in the darkness, talking and laughing and generally having a great time. When my feet were sufficiently frozen, I suggested that we turn around and head home. Steve looked over at me and crowed that he had "beat a Marble", then kept talking as he turned Holland around. I'm a sore looser, so instead of turning around, I got my horse into a canter in the opposite direction. Lydia thought that was a good idea and came, too. It took Steve a minute to figure out that he was talking to his horse instead of to us...