No, I’m not referring to greasing any gears, the mechanical kind, anyway. The squeaky wheel gets the grease is usually applied to people, who get what they want, because they have spoken up. In my mind, it pertains to people who are habitual whiners. They get what they want, because most are tired of listening to them. I know for a fact that this principle can be applied to animals. I have a mare, who I term my “steady eddie”. By that, I mean her temperament is easy going, not easily agitated. However, there is an unpleasant aspect to her behavior. She always has a ravenous appetite. If there is a slice of hay or even just a blade of grass, it’s GET IN MY BELLY! It’s to the point where she is so adamant about eating, she cannot be the last standing horse to the feed.
Where am I going with this??
Well, I make sure she is the first one to the field and the first one to return to the barn. It helps to avoid the unpleasantness of her style of whining, which is running in circles, bucking, and jumping back. In a nutshell, I accommodate her demands. It’s not cute. But, then again, squeaky wheels, whether mechanical, human, or equine, aren’t cute,… just irritating.
Springtime correlates with the start of the riding season, for me, anyway. In order to get there, so many big chores must be completed. One of them is a manure pile, on the north end of the barn, the size of Pikes Peak. This is a task that is normally “spread” throughout the week; however, in winter, the snow and freezing prevents the removal. All in all, this over-sized mound needs to be redirected elsewhere. Unfortunately, winter isn’t over just yet. This is the time that cabin fever really sets in. I connect that big manure pile with the obstacles in my way. Some people need to clear the cobwebs out. Me, I need to knock down the pile of waste (to be polite). I can’t enjoy the season of renewal until I complete the tasks that sat idle, like the frozen pile. Once I get over that obstacle, my energies can be redirected.
It’s only February but according to my county extension newsletter, now is the time to start ordering seed packets. I never realized that I needed to get plants that had a maturation time period of under 75 days. I wonder if that applies to container planting, as well. Every year I attempt to plant English cucumbers, because these are so pricey at the supermarket. If hail doesn’t get them, grasshoppers will. But, I’ll try again and again. This year is marked for more tree planting. After losing countless number of trees, I’ve learned which ones thrive on the Homestead. It’s a challenge, but one I look forward to every year. It’s the best cabin fever cure there is.
My new year started out with a heavy heart. I lost my father, who had been ailing for some time and had lost the quality of life that he enjoyed for the majority of his 84 years. His long stride had been reduced to a slow shuffle, and his once hearty appetite diminished to no desire for even a morsel. It was painful to watch his health deteriorate. It was even more painful to admit him to a hospice, where he would rest until the end of his life. It was agonizing for us to give the directive to remove all life lines. When he was told that he would be moving to the hospice, he said, “Good. I’ll be free as a bird.” Today while driving through town, there was a gaggle of geese, along the side of the road, that suddenly took flight directly in front and above my car. I was impressed with the beauty and size of these Canadian birds. I couldn’t help imagine that my dad would have been in awe of that sight. Here’s a quote that I came across that expresses beautifully how I will remember him:
We cannot lose the ones we love for even when they’re gone, we feel their gentle presence in the hush of every dawn. We see them in the sunlight that makes the day so bright, in the flowers of the springtime and in the stars at night. We cannot lose the ones we love, for they will always stay in all that’s bright and beautiful around us day by day. -Graham
I love you, Dad.