"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gracie The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


Here is my Gracie.  A real beauty.  Very large as far as horses go.  Must have been all those graham crackers, apples and carrots (her favorite treats).

Her story began out back on the other side of the fence.  No one took care of her.  She had a black mane and tail and was a darker gray color and about 1 1/2 - 2 years old.  I started feeding her.  I shant go on about the lowly neighbors, but I continued to feed her for years, medicating etc. at enormous expense I might add.

One day an old nag appeared, named Brownie.  Came from a farm up the road.  They didn't feed her either.  Being the alpha female, she'd eat Gracie's food and bite her, so I started feeding 'Brownie' too.  For years I might add.  I found out during that period she was 28 years old.  I wormed and medicated her too; took care of her abdominal abscess.  Unlike Gracie, Brownie is very skittish and has been on her own for a long time, though now I can pet her and apply fly repellent.


A divorce was occurring at the farm on the other side of the fence, so they asked if I wanted to buy Gracie.  I thought and thought; we'd have to fence off some acreage and build a stall and tack room.  But, at the time you couldn't give horses away around here and I didn't want her packed up in a trailer and shipped to Mexico, where they cruelly and gruesomely kill horses and send the meat to places that eat horses.  


So, I bought her.  She came alone and missed Brownie terribly.  Can't imagine why, but they called to each other all the time.  Gracie was so lonely.  Nearly tore down the new fencing we put up, slashed herself on it etc. If you look back to the first picture, I went around the new barbwire fence with a pair of pliers and pinched each barb so she wouldn't hurt herself again.  I could go on and on and on about my time with Gracie.  I'd tell you about the time she was pissed at me for trying to push her back so I could get through the gate to feed her.  She bit the soft, fleshy upper part of my arm and I believe the pain was worse than childbirth.

Meanwhile, Brownie found her way over to Gracie's pasture and I let her in.  Still feeding them both.  I talked to Brownie's owner and he said, "Oh, you can have her."  Now, who wants a semi-wild horse that is about to kick the bucket?  More on this in a minute.


Here is the serendipitous part of the story.  I got this print years before Gracie or Brownie came into my life.  They look exactly like this, down to the star on Brownie's head.


I made this life-sized paper mache horse before I met the mares.  As I said, when Gracie first came, she was a darker dapple gray, with dark mane and tail.


The time has come though. Carrying heavy feed bags and bales of hay are too burdensome and backbreaking and did I mention very expensive?  This old gray mare definitely ain't what she used to be.  I am trying to find a forever home for Gracie.  Don't want her passed around or mistreated and ending up in a slaughter house.  Though I want Brownie's owner to be responsible for her, he will probably drive her straight to the place where they dispose of old horses.  I fear it will be like signing her death warrant.

I am trying to make my life less complicated.  A move to the city - yes, leaving my farm after more than 30 years - is in the offing.  Hard choices and decisions lie ahead.  

This weekend, though, I am going to my little home in the city to rest and relax, to see my children and grandchildren and friends; to eat out and see a movie, go to Whole Foods and Barnes and Noble, Hobby Lobby and other city things I love to do.

22 comments:

  1. Ooh dear Donna,
    My heart is heavy that the story of Gracie and Brownie is ongoing. I have been in your shoes, and can only say, to this very day I miss my horses with a passion.
    I'm not a city dweller, but being within twenty miles of a large city is a huge plus, especially since the aches and pains of aging requires visits to doctors and such.
    I will pray that you are able to find your horses a forever home, with lots of love and attention, and you are able to settle in to this new chapter of your life.
    ~Jo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jo. Need all the help I can get. Change is so very hard when we age; impossible for my husband. But, I think change is good, full of possibility and new adventures. My husband wants to hold on to the past, while I want to move on, go forward. We are at a crossroad. It would be a totally different story if we lived close to the city.

      Delete
  2. How interesting you are the second blogger I trailed after who has an equine bit of life. The other, The Venomous Bead mentioned their neighbor's donkey on and off, then that the donkey was a present for the little boy of the family and then it became too expensive and must be sold. So, she and her husband bought it, etcetcetc.
    I hope you can find an old horse home. I suppose for both of them is out of the question. Best of luck.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Donna, I do so hope you can find a home for the two of them. I am sure there is another kind person with a heart of gold out there somwhere, but it is just finding them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to be like Churchill - never, never, never gave up. I won't give up on this issue though. My achilles heel is animals.

      Delete
  4. What a tender heart you have.

    I love that in people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Monique. I simply cannot see an animal suffer. I have saved so many dogs and cats that people dump in the country, but the pleasure has been all mine. I even love Mean Mom the feral cat, that smacked my glasses off and tried to scratch my eyes out. I finally caught her and had her fixed and she is at least civil now.

      Delete
  5. Donna, what a lot of change is knocking on your door now. I can definitely understand how difficult making big decisions can be. How I do hope that you will find loving homes for those horses.

    With my love of a big city, and dreams of countryside, I am quite interested to learn more about your transitioning. Do enjoy your weekend city stay! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Frances. It is a hard decision and one that has been a long time coming. I have wanted to move for a long time but this is my husband's hometown and he doesn't want to go. But, in reality, we are getting older and my husband has health issues and we can no longer take care of it all. Farm life is hard work; the equipment always breaks down and on and on. I love the peace of the country, but want to be closer to my kids and grand kids et al. On my list of stay or go, the first thing I wrote under stay, was the stars.

      Delete
  6. Donna - you ask what silage is. Surely it is made in the US?
    The grass is cut and left on the ground to dry a little. Then it is baled up by giant machines and wrapped by a wrapper which follows - the wrapping is plastic. Then the bales are carted to an area and stacked up and stored for the winter. Every field will produce at least two crops and if the weather allows early cutting then each field may produce three crops - all so much better than hay which only produces one crop per year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So it is just grasses, not all the other stuff that grows deep, which is called hay around here. I have to buy small square bales of bermuda grass as we don't have the equipment to do it ourselves. It is very expensive that way though. I pay $9.00USD per small square. They don't call it silage here though. Just Timothy hay or Bermuda grass bales.

      Delete
  7. Ah Donna - changes are always hard and this story of your Gracie makes my heart sad for you. Take time friend and "look up" - you just might find a wonderful home for your sweet horse. In the meantime enjoy your visit in the city. Hmm I think I am going to Barnes and Noble today...it is raining here and what a wonderful time to sip some hot beverage or cold and browse through lovely books. God Bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Debbie. I could spend an entire day at Barnes and Noble.

      Delete
  8. Donna, What a quandary. After all the love and care you have provided for Gracie, I know you will do your best to find her a good home. When I was a little girl, I wanted a horse more than anything else in the world. I wonder if you could find a youngster who is an animal lover and who's family would oblige? Last year, I gave 3 of my peahens to a responsible boy who loved birds. He has given them great care. A move to the city? What a change that will be for you. I don't believe I could ever leave my farm, but then again, I am within a 30 minute drive to civilization. I will be cheering you on and hoping for a good outcome for Gracie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jeri. Like you, my farm has always been home - my haven and respite from a frenetic, hard world. My animals, gardens, and all here have sustained me. But, it no longer holds the meaning it once did. I spend more than half my time alone and it is two hours from the nearest city. That, and I want to be around my children and grand children. It is a tough choice and I've waffled for a long time, but therein lies the choice. I have choices in the city which I do not have here. I am now ready to go.

      Delete
  9. What wonderful images of Gracie Donna ….. and what a difficult thing to have to do even though it's the right thing. But, as long as you find her a lovely home she will be happy. XXXX

    ReplyDelete
  10. If I have to, I will find someone or someplace to board them until then. If it isn't too expensive. One place wanted $180.USD per month for one horse which would be too costly.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That is just the best story, I remember that from awhile back...so sad leaving the farm...I look at all the work I have to do on this six acres and wonder how much longer I'll be able as well, but our hearts and souls will always be country girls!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is Sharon. I fear I will miss it; will have made a terrible mistake, but I guess we all have to leave someday. Our fifty acre wood is just too much to take care of anymore. I guess in the old days, the kids stayed close and helped out. Ours don't come home often as they have busy lives etc. Don't know what will happen and that in itself is distressing.

      Delete
  12. Such a loving story..and so happy you directed me your way..Its wonderful to meet you Donna..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Dutchess and so very nice to meet you also.

      Delete

Someone said comments are the heartbeat of blogs. I love to read your comments and learn so much from every one of you. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.